Nobel prize winner says humanity moving to another planet is a stupid idea
A Nobel-prize winning astrophysicist has said humanity needs to focus on solving Earth's problems rather than migration to another planet.
Michel Mayor, along with fellow Nobel winner Didier Queloz, discovered the first exoplanet with the potential to host life back in 1995. They calculated it was the same distance from its host star as Earth, putting it in the 'Goldilocks zone' where liquid water may be possible.
Since then, our knowledge of exoplanets has skyrocketed. Equipment like Nasa's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has helped to confirm over 4,000 known exoplanets.
But Mayor says pinning our hopes on a world beyond our solar system is a stupid idea.
'If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there. These planets are much, much too far away,' he told Agence France-Press.
'Even in the very optimistic case of a livable planet that is not too far, say a few dozen light years, which is not a lot, it's in the neighborhood, the time to go there is considerable.
'We are talking about hundreds of millions of days using the means we have available today.'
Rather than jumping on Elon Musk's bandwagon and getting excited about humans becoming a multi-planetary species, the 77-year-old said issues like climate change are far more serious.
'We must take care of our planet,' he urged.
Climate change is accelerating, with carbon dioxide levels increasing, sea levels rising and ice sheets melting faster than ever, experts have warned. That opinion comes from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which formed part of a 'united in science' review for a UN climate action summit.
The WMO has published a report showing climate change and its impacts over the past five years between 2015 and 2019, which shows it was the hottest five-year period on record. The world has warmed by 1.1C since pre-industrial times, and by 0.2C just compared to the previous five year period 2011-2015, the report showed.
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