TAMPA (CBS Tampa/AP) — British cosmologist Stephen Hawking believes humans will colonize the moon in 50 years and hopes people will be living on Mars by the end of the century.

The 72-year-old Hawking made the statement on National Geographic’s “Live From Space.”

“Within 50 years, I have no doubt there will be settlements on the moon and by the end of the century I truly hope humans will be living on Mars,” Hawking said.

Hawking stated that it’s time to develop a “Plan B” to keep the human species alive.

“I fear for our future. Our planet Earth is threatened with an ever expanding population and only finite resources. We need a Plan B,” Hawking explained. “If our species is to survive the next 100 years, let alone a thousand, it is imperative to fly out into the blackness of space to colonize new worlds across the cosmos.”

Last year, Hawking – who suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease – made waves when he said he did not think humans would survive another 1,000 years “without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

Renowned for his work on black holes and the origins of the cosmos, Hawking is famous for bringing esoteric physics concepts to the masses through his best-selling books, including “A Brief History of Time,” which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Hawking titled his hourlong lecture to Cedars-Sinai employees “A Brief History of Mine.”

Hawking has survived longer than most people with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control the muscles. People gradually have more and more trouble breathing and moving as muscles weaken and waste away. There’s no cure and no way to reverse the disease’s progression. Few people with ALS live longer than a decade.

Hawking receives around-the-clock care, can only communicate by twitching his cheek, and relies on acomputer mounted to his wheelchair to convey his thoughts in a distinctive robotic monotone.

Despite his diagnosis, Hawking has remained active. In 2007, he floated like an astronaut on an aircraft that creates weightlessness by making parabolic dives.

In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Hawking the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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