Humans will not 'migrate' to other planets, Nobel winner says

According to Swiss Nobel laureate Michel Mayor, humans will never relocate to a planet outside of our solar system because it would take too long to get there.

Mayor and his colleague Didier Queloz received the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for their work on improving methods for locating so-called exoplanets.

When questioned about the potential of people migrating to other planets, Mayor told AFP in Madrid on the sidelines of a conference, "If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there."

These worlds are way, way out in space. The time to get there is significant, even in the extremely optimistic assumption of a living planet that is nearby—say, a few dozen light years away, which is not far at all.

"With the tools we have at our disposal now, we're talking about hundreds of millions of days. Our planet has to be protected since it is lovely and yet completely habitable.

According to the 77-year-old, he felt the urge to "kill all the statements that say 'OK, we will go to a liveable planet if one day life is not possible on earth'."

It's really ridiculous, he continued.

The discovery of a planet outside of our solar system by Mayor and Queloz in October 1995 was made possible by the use of specialized equipment at their observatory in southern France.

When they discovered the discovery that sparked an astronomical revolution, Mayor was a professor at Geneva University and Queloz was his doctoral student. Since then, our own galaxy has seen the discovery of nearly 4,000 exoplanets.

Are there other worlds in the universe? is a very old issue that philosophers have argued about, according to Mayor.

We search for planets that are the nearest to us and could resemble Earth. My colleague and I initiated the hunt for planets and demonstrated that it was feasible to examine them.

The "next generation" must decide whether or not there is life on other planets, according to Mayor.

"We have no idea! The only way to achieve it, he argued, is to create methods that would enable us to find life at a distance.