“The future of space begins today,” says Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. The first European woman in the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps (ESA) and the first European woman commander of the International Space Station concluded, together with the European Commissioner for Innovation, Maria Gabriel, the 15th European Space Conference in Brussels and precisely on this occasion, in an interview conducted by ANSA, highlighting on the need for the European space sector to gain autonomy. “We are in a period of crisis – Cristoforetti said – and I think we all understand how important it is, in such a difficult moment, to invest in strategic sectors for us to further strengthen and develop our ability to deal with crises.
According to the astronaut, a stronger and more resilient industrial base is needed, which “will help us meet all kinds of challenges.” First of all, climate change. He added that there is already “a direct impact of space resources and technologies to provide us with the information we need to contain the problem.”
But the future that Astrosamantha sees is also and above all related to human exploration of space. “I really hope – she hoped – that in the next few years the foundations will be laid, in terms of financing and the industrial framework, to meet this challenge, in order to pursue an independent capacity in Europe to have vehicles capable of taking our astronauts.” Commissioner Gabriel echoes it, emphasizing that space is a strategic area that Europe supports through the Horizon Europe programme. “We must continue and invest in research and innovation. But without people with their skills, talents and ideas, the results of these investments and policy tools cannot be obtained,” Gabriel said.
Hence – according to the commissioner – the importance of models such as Samantha Cristoforetti, who are able to send a message to young European talents and make them “see the stars in your eyes”. Indeed, the Italian astronaut concluded, “Space has this amazing power to create that passion and curiosity that prompted me to enter the space sector” and this is what drives me “to pursue scientific and technological careers that are sometimes very demanding, but so rewarding that this reward is more important than the challenges and difficulties.” .
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