By ALICIA CHANG 04/10/13 03:28 PM ET EDT

LOS ANGELES — Stephen Hawking, who spent his career decoding the universe and even experienced weightlessness, is urging the continuation of space exploration – for humanity’s sake.

The 71-year-old Hawking said he did not think humans would survive another 1,000 years “without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

via Stephen Hawking: Space Exploration Is Key To Saving Humanity.

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Stephen Hawking
black and white photo of Hawking in a chair, in an office.
Stephen Hawking at NASA, 1980s