In a prophetic statement, Hawkings says we probably need to make it off our current chunk of rock into permanently self-sustaining settlements within the next century if mankind's going to survive. Personally, I find it very disturbing that we can't keep earth itself self-sustaining.
World-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe. The British astrophysicist said in a press conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the Moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years, adding "We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another solar system." "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking emphasized and added "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war or a genetically engineered virus." Hawking, who is wheelchair-bound, can use only one hand and communicates with the help of a computer because he suffers from an incurable neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He concluded by saying if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should establish space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.