As part of Italy Pavilion’s events dedicated to the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week, Italy-headquartered high-technology company Leonardo organised the international conference The lunar space economy. The first steps towards an interplanetary generation, on October 19th.
Main theme of the event was Moon exploration, the next key step for space agencies around the world as well as for private entrepreneurs. The return to the lunar surface is a crucial 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 Leonardo Chief Executive Officer Alessandro Profumo: “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.
For the great lunar adventure, infrastructure, artificial intelligence, robotics, connectivity, services and operations are needed, all skills that Leonardo Group can make available. Leonardo’s joint venture Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) is contributing to the construction of the Lunar Gateway of the NASA Artemis mission and is building critical systems of Orion, the spacecraft for astronauts. Leonardo's robotic systems, equipped with advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence, will provide great support for the creation of a sustainable “Moon village”. Robotic arms and drills will help build structures, dig and extract resources from underground. Leonardo holds a leadership role in space robotics, having already developed the drills for the Rosetta missions, ExoMars 2022, and now PROSPECT, for the Luna27 mission, and designing robotic arms for the Mars Sample Return programme. Finally, Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%) has been recently selected by ESA for the study of an infrastructure for telecommunications and lunar navigation.
Other speakers at the Leonardo event included: Bill Nelson, Administrator at NASA; Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA; Giorgio Saccoccia, President of ASI; Hazza Al Mansouri, the first Emirati astronaut on board the International Space Station, who spoke in a panel together with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano; Sara Al Maeeni, Project scientist and communication engineer of the Emirates Lunar Mission; Paolo Glisenti, General Commissioner’s office of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai; researchers from MIT, INAF and Colorado School of Mining; professionals from mining companies.