Humans will never migrate to a planet outside Earth's solar system because it will take too long to get there, Swiss Nobel laureate Michel Mayor said Wednesday.
Mayor and his colleague Didier Queloz were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for their research refining techniques to detect so-called exoplanets.
"If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there," Mayor told AFP near Madrid on the sidelines of a conference when asked about the possibility of humans moving to other planets.
“These planets are very, very far away. Even in the most optimistic case of a livable planet that is not too far away, say a few dozen light years, which is not a lot, in the neighborhood, the time to go there is significant, ”he added.
“We are talking about hundreds of millions of days using the means we have available today. We must take care of our planet, it is very beautiful and still absolutely alive. ”
The 77-year-old said he felt the need to "kill all the statements that say 'OK, we will go to a viable planet if one day life is not possible on earth'."
"Completely crazy," he added.
Using custom-made instruments at their observatory in southern France, Mayor and Queloz in October 1995 discovered what had previously existed only 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 that began a revolution in astronomy. Since then over 4,000 exoplanets have been found in our home galaxy.
"It was a very old question that was debated by philosophers: are there other worlds in the Universe?" Mayor said.
“We look for planets that are the closest (to us) that could resemble Earth. Together with my colleague we started this search for planets, we showed it was possible to study them. ”
The mayor said it was up to the "next generation" to answer the question of whether there is life on other planets.
“We don't know! The only way to do that is to develop techniques that will allow us to detect life at a distance, ”he said.
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Oct 09, 2019 22:23 IST