I guess that the idea of going to other planets still a mere fantasy if current health problems are not solved first.
Einstein and other scientists invented ideas of space traveling in complete ignorance of what such a travel will involve. For them in their imaginations traveling in outer space was idealized as traveling in a train from New York to Washington DC. In those years it was a complete ignorance about space traveling and any imagination was accepted as valid.
Today, our reality is showing that astronauts standing in space for less than a year returned back to earth with such a health status as if they were decades older than their current age.
The consequences of standing in outer space are practically catastrophic to the point that astronauts must be living in and out in recovering rooms for years!
Their bones suffered of osteoporosis, their inmune system deteriorated, the production of red cells decreased, their bodies became distorted, they suffered disorientation, their discs were deformed, anything happened to them but “becoming more younger” from outer space traveling at great speeds.
No doubt that for traveling to Mars the astronauts will use drugs, and this is a fact which must be faced; even athletes use drugs on ground for better performance. The astronauts will use drugs to travel to Mars otherwise they will become masses of deformed flesh in the floor of the space ship.
Hawking appears to live in the world of fantasy created by Einstein in science. Of course that “in paper” everything can be possible, but physical reality is a different thing.
Right now, astronauts must be under drugs to test their performance and come back as some Russian astronauts do after a year in the Space Station: walking.
So far the US astronauts must be taken in wheelchairs from the space ship to their recovery rooms. Maybe is too much soda or the famous genetically modified food, but no doubt that the resistance of Russian astronauts is fair better than the US astronauts in long standing in outer space. Some say that the reason is because Russian astronauts do the required physical exercises all the time while the US astronauts don’t. Even so, on ground the consequences of not doing physical exercises won’t make you body to sufffer of strong osteoporosis in short months.
Now, we assume that astronauts must be people in very good health condition, what about the fat guy who lives around the corner of your house? or, what about your son who suffers of asthma? What are the chances of their survival in a long trip in outer space?
The idea is good, looking for new horizons, but guys like Hawking keep their mouths shut about the current health problems in a space traveling because these problems show their theories are as false as a three dollar bill.
My opinion is to discuss the health problems of the astronauts more openly in order to receive ideas to improve their performance.
Instead of bubbling around in order to be mentioned in the news, the scientists must show to the general public the negative consequences of space traveling in order to avoid false hope.
From this point, solutions should be asked. The more plausible ideas must be tested, and from the successful tests the hope of traveling to planets outside our solar system may be shared.
Right now, space traveling of humans looking for new horizons still is a fantasy, we barely survive some miles away from ground in outer space.