Stephen Hawking says humans can escape the countdown to extinction if there’s another planet which we can all call home.

Stephen Hawking spoke before an audience during a debate event sponsored by the Oxford Union Society.  According to physicist and cosmologist, the human race is at risk of facing extinction, saying that in a thousand years humans will cease to exist.

This is not the first time hawking has touched on the subject of human extinction.  The septuagenarian has said that human activities aggravating global warming and triggering possible nuclear warfare could lead to the earth’s end, including its inhabitants.  He added that technological advancements in the area of artificial intelligence could also wipe out the human race.

But hawking intimated that there’s a glimmer of hope amid his dark prophecies.  If there’s another planet we can call home, this could save the day.

Hawking stressed that our future rests in how far we could go into space exploration while looking for a new habitable place.  Earth is already in a precarious situation and in a thousand years, life could be difficult to sustain.

While no one really knows for sure if Hawking’s predictions would actually happen a thousand years from now,  space explorations programs have been launched to explore other planets, long before the physicist’s pronouncements.

About seven years ago, NASA’s Kepler spacecraft was sent to space.  The aim of the space program is to scout for earth-like planets within our galaxy.  The search is concentrated on regions where stars like our own abound.  Experts refer to this as the “Goldilocks Zone”, suggesting that the region is nearly habitable and found to have temperature and air pressure levels that could possibly produce fluid water.

In the past months, a team of astronomers discovered a planet which fits the bill.  Proxima B is about the size of the earth, within the Goldilocks Zone, and is orbiting Proxima Centauri, a star similar to our sun.

Apart from this, it is quite close to earth – a little over 4 light years away.  According to astronomy experts, this looks encouraging and Proxima B could be our saving grace – for now.

Mr. Hawking concluded his talk by calling on the audience to always learn new things with eagerness and to explore the skies and the vast space beyond it.

Hawking may be right or wrong, only time can tell but NASA and other space programs continue to explore space with the same eagerness as he would have wanted it done.