Nobel laureate Michel Mayor says humans will never migrate to other planets

Nobel laureate Michel Mayor says humans will never migrate to other planets

Humans will never migrate to a planet outside of Earth’s solar
system because it would take far too long to get there, Swiss Nobel
laureate Michel Mayor said Wednesday.

Mayor and his colleague Didier Queloz were on Tuesday awarded
the Nobel Prize for Physics for their research refining techniques
to detect so-called exoplanets.

Nobel laureate Michel Mayor. Image: AFP.

Nobel laureate Michel Mayor. Image: AFP.

“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 much, much too far away. Even in the very
optimistic case of a livable planet that is not too far, say a few
dozen light-years, which is not a lot, it’s in the neighbourhood,
the time to go there is considerable,” 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 liveable.”

The 77-year-old said he felt the need to “kill all the
statements that say ‘OK, we will go to a liveable planet if one day
life is not possible on earth’.”

“It’s completely crazy,” he added.

Using custom-made instruments at their observatory in southern
France, Mayor and Queloz in October 1995 discovered what had
previously only existed 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 started a
revolution in astronomy. Since then over 4,000 exoplanets have been
found in our home galaxy.

“It was a very old question which was debated by philosophers:
are there other worlds in the Universe?,” Mayor said.

“We look for planets which are the closest (to us), which could
resemble Earth. Together with my colleague we started this search
for planets, we showed it was possible to study them.”

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 it is to develop techniques
that would allow us to detect life at a distance,” he said.


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