Let me say right away that I'm extremely sympathetic to the spacefaring idea. Frankly, I'm shocked we haven't already devoted serious resources towards this. We meaning 'America'.
But Hawking has no authority on this subject. He's just another guy with an opinion. Not that you'd know that from the article.
Stephen Hawking, who spent his career decoding the universe and even experienced weightlessness, is urging the continuation of space exploration — for humanity’s sake.Decoding the universe? See, I wonder if this flowery BS is owing to someone just wanting to build up Hawking, or if it was more of a 'wow, what does this guy actually do? Woah, this looks boggling - time to punt!' thing. It should be required by a journalism code that a scientist can only be described by what he actually does, in vulgar terms. 'Jerry Coyne, an expert in getting fruit flies to fuck, had this to say.'
Also, is it just me or is the 'experienced weightlessness' line just sort of thrown in there? Not to mention it pales in comparison. 'Decodes the universe, AND he went to Space Camp!' is close to 'Studies the very thoughts of the Lord of Hosts, and he even was on Star Trek once!' in terms of a step down in awe.
Normally I'd be quick to attribute this to Hawking being full of himself, but this time it seems like it may be more of a lazy SEO Writing thing. The whole article is just a mish-mash. But what caught my eye is that damn line about the survival of humanity, with the suggestion that this is the opinion of an Actual Expert, and not just some guy shooting into the dark.