Professor Stephen Hawking is known around the world as one of the smartest men alive. He has shared his intelligence in all aspects of life, but his most notable contribution is in theoretical physics and cosmology. And as a leading voice in space science and space exploration, it was no wonder that one of his biggest dreams was to one day travel to space.
But recently, that dream was made a reality thanks to the generosity of Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson. Branson offered Hawking a seat on Virgin Galactic flight, his airline’s commercial space flight program. It was an offer that the physicist immediately accepted. Hawking has long been an advocate of commercial flights to space and he has said that being afforded that luxury would give him great joy. Thanks to advances in technology and an open seat, Hawking will finally get to experience what he could only theorize with his one of a kind mind.
Stephen Hawking has suffered from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease affects a person’s motor functions and speech. Most people with ALS are given only a few years to live, but the 75-year old Hawking, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was 21, has been living with it for more than 50 years. His space travel will not only fulfill his personal dream, but will also give doctors a chance to study the disease in new ways, such as how it will react in zero gravity. Virgin’s Galactic Space Ship Two is a winged aircraft that allows upÂ to 6 passengers to travel to space.