Professor Stephen Hawking is heading into space after billionaire Richard Branson offered to take him on his Virgin Galactic spaceship – once it’s actually ready to launch.
Speaking on ‘Good Morning Britain’, the cosmologist and physicist, 75, whose life has revolved around the study of black holes in space and theories on gravity, said he never expected to actually travel to space.
Billionaire entrepreneur and investor Branson has set up Virgin Galactic in the hope of taking tourists into space on commercial missions.
“My three children have brought me great joy – and I can tell you what will make me happy, to travel in space,” Hawking told host Piers Morgan.
“I thought no one would take me, but Richard Branson has offered me a seat on Virgin Galactic, and I said yes immediately.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Hawking also expressed his views on US President Donald Trump, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit.
While saying that he still admires America, Hawking claimed Trump is a “demagogue” who might not make him feel “welcome” once he sets foot in the US again.
He also reiterated the general view that Trump has been elected by anti-establishment people who were fed up with the ruling elite.
“Trump was elected by people who felt disenfranchised by the governing elite in a revolt against globalization.
“His priority will be to satisfy his electorate who are neither liberal, nor that well-informed,” Hawking added.
In regards to Corbyn, Hawking said that he is unlikely to make Labour win any general election as he has failed to come across as a “strong leader.”
“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,” the critically-acclaimed physicist remarked.
While acknowledging that Labour’s “right principles” are pointless if it never swings into power, Hawking nonetheless said he would still vote for Labour as it is the party that “matter.”
“It’s no good having the right principles if you never get in power. But I will continue to vote Labour – it’s the party that matters.”
When questioned about Brexit, Hawking, who has opposed the UK divorce from the EU right from the start, said that the government should pursue the road to a ‘hard Brexit’, as that would make the UK look “isolated and inward-looking.”
“We should retain as many links as possible with Europe and the rest of the world, particularly China.
“By remaining in the EU, we would have given ourselves more influence in the world,” he added.
“And we would provide future opportunities for young people.”
Hawking also added that dragging the UK out of the EU would undermine its status as a “world-leader in science and innovation.”
Article 50 – the bill clearing the way for Prime Minister Theresa May to start the official process to bring the UK out of the bloc – got Royal Assent last week, meaning the bill has now become an Act of Parliament.
The government now aims to trigger Article 50 to kick-start negotiations with the EU by the end of the month.