Friday 17 November 2017

Hawking plans to go into orbit on Branson spaceship

Professor Stephen Hawking Photo: PA
Professor Stephen Hawking Photo: PA

Julia Hunt

Professor Stephen Hawking has revealed he plans to travel into space on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

The 75-year-old physicist and cosmologist said he had not expected to have the opportunity to experience space but that the Virgin boss had offered him a seat.

In an interview which was due to be broadcast on ITV this morning, he said: "My three children have brought me great joy.

"And I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space. I thought no one would take me but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately."

In the wake of a testing accident in 2014, however, Virgin Galactic has not identified a date when space flights can safely begin.

Prof Hawking also shared his views on US President Donald Trump and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the interview.

The scientist - who previously referred to Mr Trump as a "demagogue" - said he still admired America but feared he "may not be welcome" there any more.

"The reaction to the election of Donald Trump may have been overdone, but it represents a definite swing to a right-wing, more authoritarian approach," he said.

Prof Hawking said of Jeremy Corbyn: "I don't believe there will be much chance of Labour winning an election under him.

"He doesn't come across as a strong leader, and he allowed the media to portray him as a left-wing extremist, which he's not.

"It's no good having the right principles if you never get in power."

But he added: "I will continue to vote Labour, it's the party that matters."

Host Piers Morgan also quizzed Prof Hawking about Brexit.

The scientist, who was opposed to leaving the EU, said if the referendum decision must be implemented "it shouldn't be a hard Brexit as the right wing of the Conservative Party want".

Irish Independent

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