Quantum physicist Stephen Hawking says we need to take action to try to offset global warming. He also plans to go into space, and wants to take a zero-gravity flight in airplane soon in order to get ready for the trip.

In the Independent, Steve Connor quotes Hawking as saying that he has “concluded the dangers posed by climate change are nearly as dire as those posed by nuclear weapons. The effects may be less dramatic in the short term than the destruction that could be wrought by nuclear explosions, but over the next three to four decades climate change could cause drastic harm.” The Daily Telegraph quotes Hawking, who is 65 and in a wheelchair, as saying, “This year I’m planning a zero-gravity flight and to go into space in 2009.”

He plans to travel on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic service, which is scheduled to start private space flights in two years, at a cost of about $200,000 per person for a two-hour trip orbiting above the earth.

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