Monday, January 08, 2007

Stephen Hawking hopes to go into space

I hope he can do this, too. This man is an extraordinary human being and deserves to see his dream of going into space become a reality. A victim of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Hawking was diagnosed when he was only 21, shortly before his first marriage, and doctors said he would not survive more than two or three years. Despite being totally paralyzed for many years now, and unable to breath without a machine, he carries out the long and complex calculations that his work requires in his head. He is like the the energizer bunny. . . keeps going, and going, and going.

LONDON - Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says he wants to undertake a zero-gravity flight aboard an airplane this year as a precursor to a journey into space, a newspaper reported Monday.

"This year I'm planning a zero-gravity flight and to go into space in 2009," he was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Hawking, 65, has said he hopes to travel on British businessman Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic service, which is scheduled to launch in 2009. The service will charge space tourists about US$200,000 (about 100,000 pounds; euro155,000) for a two-hour suborbital trip some 87 miles (140 kilometers) above the Earth.

Branson was keen to help the scientist realize his dream of space flight, Virgin Galactic spokesman Stephen Attenborough said Monday.

"Richard is very determined that if we can possibly make this happen, then it should," Attenborough said.

He said the company had not discussed the issue of payment with Hawking.

One of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation, Hawking gained fame with the best-selling book "A Brief History of Time."

The scientist, who uses a wheelchair and communicates with the help of a computer because he suffers from a neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, has done groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe, proposing that space and time have no beginning and no end.

Hawking has warned that the survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth.

2 comments:

MichaelBains said...

If anyone can make it happen, the combo of Hawking and Branson will.

Coolish.

Anonymous said...

I agree, coolish! If Stephen Hawking goes, how many of us will send our souls with him...