In summer 2018, ESA joined with the musician Vangelis and the family of scientist Prof. Stephen Hawking to beam a message marking his passing to the nearest black hole. On 22 April 2020, Earth Day, we're transmitting this poignant message to all of planet Earth - as a message of hope, to say that, by working together, we can overcome this crisis and others facing humankind.
The message reads:
“I am very aware of the preciousness of time. Seize the moment. Act now.
“I have spent my life travelling across the Universe inside my mind. Through theoretical physics I have sought to answer some of the great questions but there are other challenges, other big questions which must be answered, and these will also need a new generation who are interested, engaged and with an understanding of science.
“How will we feed an ever-growing population, provide clean water, generate renewable energy, prevent and cure disease and slow down global climate change?
“I hope that science and technology will provide the answers to these questions, but it will take people, human beings with knowledge and understanding to implement the solution.
“One of the great revelations of the space age has been a perspective that has given humanity on ourselves. When we see the Earth from space we see ourselves as a whole; we see the unity and not the divisions. It is such a simple image, with a compelling message: one planet, one human race.
“We are here together, and we need to live together with tolerance and respect. We must become global citizens.
“I have been enormously privileged through my work to be able to contribute to our understanding of the Universe. But it would be an empty Universe indeed, if it were not for the people I love and who love me.
“We are all time travellers journeying together into the future. But let us work together to make that future a place we want to visit. Be brave, be determined, overcome the odds. It can be done.
“It can be done.”
Text and narration: Prof. Stephen Hawking (© The Estate of Stephen Hawking)
Music: The Stephen Hawking Tribute by Vangelis (composed, arranged, produced and performed by Vangelis) 2018
ISS - ESA/NASA
Sentinel images - contain modified Copernicus Sentinel data/ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
Stock footage - Pexels.com, Pixabay, Bedrijfsfilmspecialist.nl
COVID-19 testing - ©Governor Tom Wolf/Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY 2.0
Sentinel 2 animation - ©ESA/ATG Medialab
Earthrise - NASA
Rosetta Earth 2009 - ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS team/M. McCaughrean
BepiColombo launch - ©ESA/CNES/Arianespace
Black hole - ©EHT Collaboration, CC BY 4.0
LHA 120-N150 - ©ESA/Hubble, NASA, Digitized Sky Survey 2, CC BY 4.0, D. De Martin
BepiColombo Earth flyby ©ESA/BepiColombo/MTM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO