Apparently, 2017 hasn't been to his liking—as Hawking shaved another 400 years off that prediction.
Hawking's comments came as part of the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing. The scientist, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and speaks with a speech-generating device, dialed into the conference with a video call urging humans to instead look toward colonizing a neighboring star system called Alpha Centauri, according to Metro UK.
So, how does he want humans do this?
Hawking believes something called the "Breakthrough Starshot" project may offer a way to find life beyond Earth. The project aims to reach the nearest star system to our own, Alpha Centauri, where last August scientists discovered a "potentially habitable Earth-like planet," by sending out ultralight nanobeams that would reach Alpha Centauri in a couple of decades.
"Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years," Hawking said Tuesday.
"Maybe if all goes well, sometime a little after the middle of the century, we'll have our first picture of another planet that may be life-bearing orbiting the nearest star," he added.