article-2582588-1C5C782D00000578-640_634x623Putting the first man on the moon may have seemed like a giant leap at the time, but it will soon seem like a tiny step if Stephen Hawking’s plans for space exploration come to pass. During last night’s Live from Space programme, the renowned astrophysicist said we will have settlements on the moon ‘within 50 years’, and believes there will be people living on Mars by 2100. And if we fail to colonise new planets, Professor Hawking believes the human race faces imminent extinction because there will be too many of us for the Earth to support.  The 72-year-old said: ‘Our planet is an old world, threatened with an ever-expanding population and finite resources. We must anticipate these threats and have a plan B. ‘If our species is to survive the next hundred years, let alone a thousand, it is imperative we voyage out into the blackness of space to colonise new worlds across the cosmos.’ ‘If we follow this path, I have no doubt that this century will go down, in the history of humankind, as the true Space Age.’ MORE