The world renowned professor Stephen Hawking has expressed his willingness to travel outer space with the help of Virgin Galactic.
“I Said Yes Immediately,” this is what Hawking response to the question if he is going to outer space.
Hawking, the world’s most renowned physicist and cosmologist, stated on Monday that he is, in fact, heading to space—and it’s happening courtesy of the Virgin group.
In 2015, through astatement, Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group, has expressed that, one day, he hoped to be able to carry Hawking to the stars.
From the same statement, Branson noted that this offer came as a result of the great respect and admiration that he has for Hawking.
“Professor Stephen Hawking is one of the people I admire most in the world, an undisputed genius who has opened our eyes to the wonders of the universe, while also happening to be a kind and delightful man. He is the only person I have given a free ticket with Virgin Galactic, and he is signed up to fly as a Future Astronaut with us if his health permits it,” Branson said in a statement.
At 75 years of age, Hawking will be the first person go to space with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
ALS is a motor-neuron disease that generally leads to death within five years of the initial diagnosis. His condition was first diagnosed when he was 21, and he was not expected to see his 25th birthday.
As the world knows traveling to space, is a risky business, even more so when health concerns come into play.
The famous professor’s voyage to space will also give scientists an opportunity to study the effects of ALS in new ways, such as how it operates in zero-gravity.
In an interview with Good Morning Britain, when discussing the anticipated event, he never dreamed he’d have such an opportunity, and that he “said yes immediately.”
Hawking continued by noting that he looks forward to the voyage with great anticipation, comparing flying into space to the same joy that his three children have brought him.
During the discussion, he stated, “my three children have brought me great joy – and I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space.”
Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is a reusable, winged spacecraft designed to carry up to eight people (including two pilots) into space, and the link between Hawking and Virgin Galactic isn’t exactly new.
Just last year, Hawking unveiled the name of the SpaceShipTwo craft, the VSS Unity. During a four-minute recorded video, Hawking explained that the Unity: “will help bring new meaning to our place on Earth and to our responsibilities as its stewards, and it will help us to recognize our place and our future in the cosmos — which is where I believe our ultimate destiny lies.”