Stephen Hawking: Space exploration is vital to our future

He told the Explorer's Club that we'd be "castaways on a desert island not trying to escape" if we don't explore

Topics: Stephen Hawking, SpaceX, Elon Musk, Space, planets, exploration, Discovery, ,

Stephen Hawking: Space exploration is vital to our futurePhysicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking (Credit: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SpaceX, the commercial spaceflight company, will launch its third commercial resupply mission on March 30, 2014. The mission, SpaceX-3, was postponed from its original March 16 launch date, and will deliver cargo to the International Space Station. It is only one of 12 resupply missions that the company will do for NASA.

The night before the originally proposed launch, billionaire SpaceX founder Elon Musk spoke at the Explorers Club’s annual dinner, where he accepted the Explorer Club President’s Award for Exploration. Attendees included Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, seven-time astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Diaz was honored with one of two Buzz Aldrin Quadrennial Space Awards, the other went to planetaryy scientist Maria Zuber for her work mapping Mars and the moon.

According to Scientific American, Musk said, “I think what we’re doing is evolutionary, but not revolutionary.” He stressed the need for a reusable rocket system. Falcon 9, which will be used on March 30 to deliver its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, is a step in the reusable direction. Its landing legs allow for a “soft landing” into an ocean.

Space exploration is often held back due to its enormous price tag — and continuous cuts to NASA are not doing anything to help government-funded exploration. According to Extreme Tech, “For heavy lift vehicles, which are required to lift large satellites, equipment, and supplies into space, it costs somewhere in the region of $10,000 to lift a single pound ($22,000/kg) into orbit around the Earth.” SpaceX wants to reduce this cost, by making rockets reusable, and if they do they’ll reduce launch costs to around $500 per pound.



Musk doesn’t want to stop there. Eventually he’d like his company to send people into near Earth orbit and beyond! Half a million dollar flights to Mars is a final goal.

The event’s keynote speaker was famed astrophysicist and bestselling author Stephen Hawking. As reported by Scientific American, Hawking too would like to see humankind explore Mars. He stressed human missions to other planets as the foundation for the future. “Not to leave planet Earth would be like castaways on a desert island not trying to escape,” Hawking said. “Sending humans to other planets … will shape the future of the human race in ways we don’t yet understand, and may determine whether we have any future at all.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...