Stephen Hawking lauds Chinese pop star for space migration question

FILE PHOTO: Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

BEIJING (Reuters) - British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, on his Chinese microblog Weibo account, praised the lead singer of China’s most popular boy band for asking about life beyond Earth.

Wang Junkai, leader singer of the wildly popular TFBOYS, posted a video of himself on his Weibo account on Friday asking the author of “A Brief History of Time” how humanity should prepare for interstellar migration in years to come.

Hawking recently warned that the human race must evacuate Earth in 600 years before soaring energy consumption turns the planet into a “ball of fire”.

Earlier this month, Hawking made a video appearance at a science summit organized by Tencent Holdings and pleaded for investors to support his idea of traveling to the closest star outside our solar system in the hope of finding an inhabitable planet.

The 75-year old physicist said in a video posting on his Weibo account that Wang asked “an excellent question”, which gave him insight into Chinese millennnials and their “curiosities” regarding the future.

Wang and his two other band mates each have more than 30 million followers on their Twitter-like Weibo microblog accounts.

Owned by Weibo Corp, Weibo is China’s biggest social media platform with more than 200 million active users.

Hawking, who opened his Weibo account last year, has 4.3 million followers, while British Prime Minister Theresa May has more than 900,000, having inherited her account from David Cameron.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore