Moon exploration is a key theme for space agencies around the world and for private entrepreneurs. The return to the lunar surface is a key factor in the development of an interplanetary generation, that will protect humanity on Earth and in the future could also be called to guide us towards new places to live in outer Space.
As highlighted by Alessandro Profumo, CEO of Leonardo, during the conference “The lunar space economy. The first steps towards an interplanetary generation” – organized during the Space Week at Expo 2020 Dubai by Leonardo with the technical-scientific coordination of SDA Bocconi on Wednesday 19th October – “Our collective ambitions in space also matter to our own planet and its future. Making interplanetary exploration more sustainable by using lunar resources is one aim. But there is a second goal: to improve our quality of life on Earth”. Space could, in fact, offer fundamental resources that will be scarce or costly to Earth’s environment. “Think about rare-Earth elements for electronic devices, for example” – added Profumo. “There are also opportunities to advance science and technology in areas like power generation, energy storage, recycling, and advanced robotics.”
Exploration, mining and recovering technologies and potential solutions for a living habitat on the Moon are some of the themes covered at the event by agencies and institutions, academia, industries and astronauts, who discussed how to create synergies to make the equation 2+2=5 work.
“It is an incredible time to be in the space business. Governments and industries from around the world have rapidly expanded their capabilities,” stated Clarence William Nelson, NASA Administrator, at the opening of his speech during the event. Nelson also used this opportunity to underline the strong relations between NASA and Italy, “I want to thank Italy for an incredibly meaningful partnership. Let us build our legacy together. Let us continue to advance scientific exploration for the benefit of humanity. Let us, through our commitment of shared principles, model and forge greater ties in international cooperation in space”.
A cooperation with important economic implications as highlighted by the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Josef Aschbacher: “According to recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) the markets for lunar goods and services are expected to rapidly expand growing to a cumulated $170 billion up to 2040 which is a prime opportunity for Europe to be on top of the game and to shape the course of events. ESA is ready to play its part.”
The United Arab Emirates space activities were a great protagonist of the international conference, with speeches from Sara Al Maeeni, Project scientist and communication engineer of the Emirates Lunar Mission, and from Hazza Al Mansouri, the first astronaut from the UAE to reach space. In a panel with the Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, the two reminded how in space it is fundamental to collaborate to achieve the final goals.
The event also had the important contribution of Giorgio Saccoccia, President of the Italian Space Agency, Paolo Glisenti, General Commissioner’s office of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai; Valentina Sumini, Space Architect and Research Affiliate at MIT Media Lab; Giulio Cappellini, Designer and Entrepreneur; Francesca Esposito, Researcher – National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF); Ian Lange Associate Professor of Economics – Colorado School of Mines; Gavin Gillett Specialist Integrated Operations – Rio Tinto.
Furthermore, in the morning – always at the Italian Pavilion – Leonardo involved young university students and researchers in the Telespazio Technology Contest T-TeC, an open innovation initiative that aims to promote technological innovation in the space sector among the younger generations.
Video message by Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, on the occasion of the event “The Lunar Space Economy. The first steps towards an interplanetary generation”.