La fantascienza ci ha ormai abituati a salire a bordo di potenti astronavi in grado di trasportarci dovunque nello spazio, inducendoci inevitabilmente a sottovalutare quanto possa essere letale questo ambiente. Oltre alle eccezionali sfide tecnologiche che si dovranno affrontare e vincere, infatti, lo scenario di un viaggio spaziale, specialmente una missione di lunga durata, porta inevitabilmente con sé terribili rischi.
Despite the not-always adequate coverage provided by the Italian media, the European Rosetta Mission, which carried out in the last days the first landing on a comet in history, kept the whole world holding its breath and has been an extraordinary scientific, technological and organizational success. When initially proposed by ESA – the European Space Agency – the aim of the mission was practically science fiction. But thanks to the cooperation of thousands of scientists from tens of research bodies and to an effective partnership networks with state-of-the-art aerospa
The Institute of Radio Astronomy (IRA), whose role is recognized at the international level, is the academic institution where radio astronomy research is traditionally carried out in Italy. We had the pleasure to speak with its director, Luigina Feretti.
What are the main projects currently active at IRA?
European women are currently underrepresented in the aerospace sector. In Italy, as reported by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), more than 1200 students graduated (bachelor or master degree) in aerospace or astronautical engineering in 2012 but only 15% of them were female students.
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Look up at the stars and ask yourself: what scares me more ? To be alone in the Universe, or to know that there is someone else up there? An age-old question, as valid for you and me as it was for Giordano Bruno when he wrote about an “infinity of worlds” before being burnt at the stake in 1600. But fifty years ago to the day, a letter to Nature ended the passive, look-up-and-ponder attitude by proposing a scientific, experimental approach. We don’t have an answer yet (or you and I would know), but in the process we have come up with quite a tale to tell.