Stephen Hawking, the British physicist who has spent his career decoding the universe, is urging the continuation of space exploration—for humanity's sake. “We won’t survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet," said the 71-year-old Hawking. He made the remarks Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he toured a stem cell laboratory that's focused on trying to slow the progression of Lou Gehrig's disease, with which he was diagnosed 50 years ago.
“Your universe is a great triumph,” he told his audience. “I want to share my enthusiasm and excitement about this great quest. So remember to look up at the stars and not at your feet. ... Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” The LA Times has more details from the speech. (Read more Stephen Hawking stories.)