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NEWS SPAZIO :- "Saving the Earth must be a priority over tourism in Space". "The great minds of our world should think about dedicating their energies to saving this planet, and not about looking for another one to live in".
As you probably know, these are the words of Prince William released to the BBC a few days ago, immediately amplified by the media around the world, ended up in that huge cauldron of communication of the big networks.
And although they are certainly dictated by the good will of wanting to solve the problems of our Earth, these words, then pronounced by such a well-liked character, an important voice that has enormous public visibility, in my opinion sin a little too much naivety. Here because.
The necessary and fundamental premise is that our Earth is the only "spaceship" in which we all travel in the cosmos towards our future. We only have this at the moment, and we must make every effort to protect it, safeguard it and keep it healthy, it literally affects our existence. We know very well the big problems we have as an ecosystem-planet-Earth.
But safeguarding our world and carrying out a space program are NOT two antithetical objectives, they are not even in competition with each other, and they are absolutely not mutually exclusive. Indeed it is just the opposite!
Space exploration is the daughter of that science and technology that, of course, point their eyes upwards, but only to increase our knowledge, only apparently disconnected from us and our Planet. Since the beginning of the space program, the Earth has been the subject of increasingly in-depth studies. There are electronic eyes aimed at the cosmos studying the unknown, just as there are electronic eyes aimed at the surface of our world, our oceans, our atmosphere, our deserts, forests, cultivated fields, animals, cities.
And it is precisely the data collected constantly from decades of satellite observations that form the foundation of studies on the health of our planet. And by the way, it is certainly not planetary scientists, or engineers who design a satellite, or even the astronauts who work in orbit, and not even the technicians who physically build capsules, space vehicles, rocket engines that have the power. to decide the actions to be taken to save the Planet from its many dangers. Nor those "crazy" and "visionary" entrepreneurs who imagine a future among the stars and who spend their money to build it.
At the top of the decision-making pyramid there is always and only politics, both in the form of a Republic and a Monarchy. This is its only mission, to decide for the good of its citizens and / or subjects, to implement measures at a global level to heal the wounds of our world. Only with precise international strategies and agreements is it possible to put into practice solid and effective tools to make a difference. And I totally agree with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth when She says that world leaders "Speak but do not act".
Let us take a quick look at a particular aspect of the space sector, at the current explosion of activities in the private industrial sector, which is also the result of the need to rationalize the "few" financial resources provided by governments. It certainly did not arise by itself, it is the result of decades of stimulus primarily from NASA, which has initiated funding and mentoring programs towards the private sector.
In addition to this, for the first time in our history we are witnessing the convergence of many important elements that all contribute together to that explosion of the private space sector that is increasingly called a new Space Renaissance: new disruptive technologies (including the Internet, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality to name but a few), new "Visionary" entrepreneurs able to dispose of huge capital, new possibilities to communicate and work, the increasing drive for international collaboration in the space sector, etc.
There are so many factors that are leading to the birth of a new space economy. We are only at the beginning of this new era and the first space services that we become aware of in these weeks and months represent only the first stirrings of this new economy. I speak extensively about all this in my new book which I hope will be out in bookstores soon. It is written precisely to give access even to those who are not in the sector a complete and consistent picture of what is happening in the space sector. You will thus be able to "read" this phenomenon in its entirety for what it really is, which is practically impossible if you pay attention only to the few and fragmented news spread by the large traditional media, which due to the brevity of the spaces made available do not provide the right context in which to frame the events, to understand that this is not at all the new fashion of the usual billionaires! Indeed, quite the opposite!
Just one example: Elon Musk has completely revolutionized all orbital space transport, cutting costs by a factor of 20. With SpaceX it started from scratch a little less than twenty years ago, and became the first NASA supplier for the transport of goods and astronauts on the International Space Station, with a level of safety many times higher than the Space Shuttle.
It will take years, of course, but today it is really possible to think of achieving what only a few years ago was considered impossible. Reaching that level of scientific, technological, organizational, professional maturity, to reach Mars and live there, will be a journey that will necessarily transform our lives, and will stimulate minds to find answers to problems of an unimaginable complexity today. And these same answers will be new powerful tools and services that in the hands of those who have the task of solving the great problems of our humanity will certainly be able to play their part.
A parallel that is often quoted when it comes to space is what happened in 1927, when a small plane named Spirit of Saint Louis built with private capital and piloted by a visionary named Charles Augustus Lindbergh made the first non-stop solo Atlantic crossing. from New York to Paris, winning the $ 25,000 prize of a competition launched a few years earlier, in 1919 by Raymond Orteig, an entrepreneur passionate about airplanes and pioneering flights. Many see in that flight the seed from which the private aviation sector developed. And today we have low-cost flights, but the first intercontinental flight open to all took place in 1959, departing from London for New York. And the tickets were a luxury that only the richest people could afford.
And it is no coincidence at all. It is a common thing when a new commercial service is born, especially if it is based on a new technology. At the beginning of its presence on the market it is proposed with high costs, accessible only to a few, at least in the initial stages.
How much did a mobile phone cost at the beginning of the mobile telephony era? And the rates? Think about when the first personal computer models began to come out on the market, how much did they cost? What about laptops? Yet, at the beginning only those with greater financial resources can enjoy these services. And that's not necessarily bad! Only in this way such new business can take off, with those who are willing to pay high initial costs. And this has always had as a direct consequence the maturation of technology and a consequent lowering of the price. And space will be no exception.
Ultimately, about a space program, public or private: it is not a question of wanting to escape from the Earth to go and live somewhere else, but of extending our idea of home, well beyond the limits of our Planet.
There is so much to say, if you want we can dedicate a post to discuss this together, but for now I'll stop here.