Thursday, April 26, 2007

No Future Without Space

Stephen Hawking and I are in agreement that humanity is doomed if we don't move out into space, but for some reason it carries a lot more weight when he says it.
Why would a man who has been stripped of the use of his legs, arms and voice go through a rollercoaster-style jet airplane ride that simulates weightlessness and often leaves even the young and virile sick to their stomachs?

For public awareness, says celebrated British cosmologist Stephen Hawking in an interview before his scheduled ride Thursday on a micro-gravity inducing plane.

"I think the human race doesn't have a future if it doesn't go into space," he told the BBC News website, who communicates by twitching the one muscle he has control of - his cheek - to select words on his computer. These are then verbalised by a voice synthesizer. "I therefore want to encourage public interest in space. A zero-gravity flight is the first step towards space travel," he said.
I can't help but be reminded of Robert Heinlein's Waldo, published in 1942. Like Hawking, Waldo was a genius who suffered from myasthenia gravis. In the story, Waldo lived and worked in orbit in zero gee, where his disability was minimized. Life imitates art.

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