British cosmologist Stephen Hawking delivers a video message during the opening ceremony of the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon on November 6, 2017. Europe's largest tech event Web Summit is being held at Parque das Nacoes in Lisbon from November 6 to November 9. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRAPATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Professor Stephen Hawking has come out with another of his cheery predictions of apocalypse – and this time, he reckons the world’s going to turn into a ‘ball of fire’.
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Speaking via radio link in Beijing, the physicist says that soaring population and demands for energy will turn the world into a sizzling ball of fire by 2600.
Prof Hawking says our only chance is to escape our planet – and says his Breakthrough Starshot project could be the first step on the way.
Professor Hawking said that he hoped that tiny spaceships propelled by beams of light could reach Alpha Centauri within his audience’s lifetime.
Hawking says, ‘Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years.’
Professor Hawking …