The year 2016 is only four months old, but Stephen Hawking is already killing it. He played quantum chess with Paul Rudd. He told us how humanity could bring about its own destruction — and people listened! And then, of course, he went into business with Russian Billionaire to launch the Breakthrough Starshot initiative to search for alien life in Alpha Centauri using a fleet of laser beam-propelled, gram-sized spacecraft.
Somehow, Hawking managed to successfully shoutout the SETI project while giving a short speech at a Passover Seder hosted by his friend, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb over the weekend. Because, why not? Loeb, in fact, is the chair of the Starshot advisory board — so this wasn’t a completely random plug by Hawking about the new initiative. During the speech, Hawking said:
“Breakthrough Starshot will attempt, within a generation, to build a spacecraft that can reach twenty percent of the speed of light. At that speed, my trip from London would have taken less than a quarter of a second. Though longer if you count customs at JFK.”
He had even more shade to throw — this time at the present-day political climate of the United States:
“The nearest star to us is called Alpha Centauri. It is four light years away. When we look at it, we see it as it was during the last election cycle. If there is anyone living there, I hope in four years’ time they won’t be watching this year’s election.”