There are some stories that, as a space journalist, you just don’t want to cover.
And well, famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s most recent news-making moment is one of them.
According to a blurb released by the BBC, an upcoming documentary features Hawking saying that humans need to find a new planet to inhabit in the next 100 years. The assumption is that we’re going to ruin the one we have within that time period. A lot of people have written about it, and that’s fine, but I’m not doing it.
It’s not as if this is the first time Hawking’s made a bold doomsday proclamation like this.
The famed scientist occasionally comes out — sometimes when he has a new show to promote — and explains how worried he is about the state of humanity in the 21st century or announces a new black hole theory.
He’s one of the brightest minds of his generation, but I’m still not interested in writing a story about some random Hawking utterance that I have no proof actually happened.
It’s not exactly clear what Hawking said — or the context in which he said it — because no video, or video transcript for that matter, that we could find has been made available by the BBC. The BBC can get away with this because Hawking gets clicks for basically any media company that writes about him.
In 2014, for example, Hawking released a study suggesting that maybe a long-held scientific principle about black holes was wrong. While the work wasn’t peer-reviewed, it still got a huge amount of news coverage.
And just last year, Hawking also said that humanity needs to leave Earth if we’re going to survive into the far future, so not so different from what he’s reportedly saying now. Hawking has also previously warned about the dangers technological advancement poses to human existence.
And yeah, I’ve covered Hawking many times before.
So yes, if you need me, I’ll just be over here staring at this photo of hundreds of galaxies light-years away.