Astrophysicist Michel Mayor, who was recently, awarded the noble prize for his work detecting exoplanets; crushed the dreams of humans hoping to ‘migrate’ to those planets.
Mayor said, “Humans will never migrate beyond our own solar system. Maybe it’s time we started taking this whole, ‘climate change’ seriously”.
Using custom-made instruments at their observatory in southern France, Mayor and fellow Nobel winner Didier Queloz in October 1995 discovered what had previously only existed in the realm of science fiction — a planet outside Earth’s solar system. Mayor was a professor at Geneva University and Queloz was his doctorate student, when they made the discovery which started a revolution in astronomy.
In the time since, researchers have confirmed the existence of more than 4,000 exoplanets. But we won’t be making the trip to any of them, said the Swiss Astrophysicist Mayor.
He told Agence France-Press (AFP), “If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there. These planets are much, much too far away. 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 concern ourselves with dreams of colonizing planets throughout our galaxy and beyond, the 77-year-old insisted, “We must take care of our planet. It is very beautiful and still absolutely livable.”
Mayor told AFP that he wanted to dissuade people from thinking of migration as a viable solution to existential threats, telling reporters he felt the need to “kill all the statements that say ‘OK, we will go to a livable planet if one day life is not possible on earth.”
He went on to call such sentiments “completely crazy.”
On whether there is life on other planets, the Nobel winner said it was up to the “next generation” to answer the question.
He further added, “We don’t know! The only way to do it is to develop techniques that would allow us to detect life at a distance.”