NASA Posts Poignant Tribute to Stephen Hawking


NASA posts poignant tribute to Stephen Hawking

'I was Superman for those few minutes.'


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 14, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:49 pm CDT

The death of Stephen Hawking at age 76 has sent ripples through the universe, and the organization that helped him reach new heights posted a lovely tribute to the ways he’s changed the world. 

As news of Hawking’s death spread online, NASA posted a clip from a 2014 interview between Hawking and astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata, who were aboard the International Space Station, and it captures the kind of wonder that even after decades of scientific discovery that Hawking still felt.

Having experienced floating in microgravity in 2007, Hawking compared it to becoming a superhero.

“For me, this was true freedom,” Hawking told them. “People who know me well say that my smile was the biggest they’d ever seen. I was Superman for those few minutes. I can only imagine what it’s like for you, Rick and Koichi, to fly like Superman for six months.”

The full clip is even more illuminating as Hawking asked Mastracchio and Wakata if they could convince the Russians to let him take a ride to the International Space Station on the Soyuz. But he also feared for the future of Earth, noting that if an asteroid hit the planet that “not even Bruce Willis could save us.”

“If our species is to survive, it is imperative we voyage out into the blackness of space with a determination to colonize new worlds across the cosmos,” Hawking said.

H/T Mashable

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*First Published: Mar 14, 2018, 1:43 pm CDT