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was his plan? Getting back from there

with new technologies and some know-

how to get a competitive advantage? Nah,

Ulysses knew he would have never come


Motorsports and aerospace engineering

have always been tied: can you explain


«The Dallara group of Sailors who

designed and build the drill was pretty

lean. We worked on this project in our

overtime. The production manager was

Italo Montanari, who has retired now, was

a man with great practical sense. I still

remember his countryman's metaphors

applied to the space exploration. Then

there was a young designer, a surface

specialist, a great mechanic, an

engineering intern and me. No managers.

Interesting isn't it? We managed ourselves

amidst many other projects that were so

urgent and important that now... nobody

remembers about them. The "space drill"

was a delicate and sober project, but with

such a strong depth in time that it might

now be remembered in the history of

mankind as a courageous act of

conscience. Like Galileo, who dared to

observe the moon and the planets to

discover that they weren't exactly perfect

and spheric like the philosophers an

theologists said. Like Werner von Braun

who, after spending some terrible years in

Germany developing the deadly V2 bombs,

was welcomed by America. Thanks to the

experience made with these instruments of

death, he led the Space Program aimed at

conquering the Moon».

How does an engineer get the idea to

design a remote-driving racecar... well,


«Maybe I had this temptation, or maybe

presumption, twenty years ago when I

thought that the credit for the race wins

were mainly to attribute to the engineers.

Then I had the chance to drive a small

racecar in an Henry Morrogh driving camp

and I realized that the driver is almost

everything. A remotely-controlled racecar

is not a racecar. It's a toy that excites

who drives it and bores all the others.

And there are drivers behind the Rosetta

Mission too. They are the Mission Control

men in Darmstadt, the people from

Politecnico di Milano and many others.

Alone, Rosetta is nothing, it's only an

object lost in space».

A brand-new blockbuster movie,

"Interstellar, has hit the theaters. It

tells about the research of an

alternative living habitat, far away

from us. Would we have the

technology needed to accomplish that


«Of course, we have the technology, but

we need a dream. A beautiful poem by

Emily Dickinson said:

To make a prairie it takes a clover and

one bee,—

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do

If bees are few.

If you think that a man walked on the

Moon almost fifty years ago without super

computers, Internet, GPS, carbon fiber,

real-time processors, what could we do

today? Looking for an habitat would

mean that we had to run away from here.

That we destroyed our own world, filled it

with waste and made it dangerous to

ourselves. Think about Easter Island. It's

so far away from any shore that there is

no chance to communicate. The

inhabitants destroyed all the trees and

reveries only to move their monolithic

idols until everybody died. Now extend the

same dynamics to the rest of us all. We

live in a limited and finite world. It would

be good to take care of it, "preserve what

you can't generate».

So why this mission started in the

first place?

«Because only by going back in time we

can understand who we are and slingshot

towards the future. With our means, all

alone, we will never get there. If we only

row, we are going to get tired soon. If we

spread a sail and learn how to navigate,

we are going to fly away with the wind.

Comets, like asteroids, are pieces of debris

dating back to the beginning of the solar

system. If the analysis of the comet's

ground will reveal the presence of amino

acids, which substantially are ammonia

under the form of dry ice, or the same

composition of primordial crystals that we

find on Earth, then we will understand

the substance of stars, of Cosmos (which

means Eternal Beauty) and ourselves. "We

are all mad of stars!"

Andrea Toso

and Stefano Semeraro