With an Eye on the Stars: Space Engineer Lucas Fonseca, who worked on the Rosetta Mission, is Confirmed at the 2023 World Meeting!
It was the night of October 4, 1957, when the starry vastness of the sky was punctuated by an unprecedented artificial glow: Sputnik 1, the first Earth satellite launched by the Soviet Union. From that momentous milestone, a new chapter in human history was written, inaugurating the era of space exploration.
Fast forward to almost seven decades later, and we now realize just how integral space technology has become in everyday life on Earth. On the cusp of a new scientific revolution, we have a duty to contemplate its implications for our species. Moreover, we need to take these reflections as a starting point for concrete actions that can shape our future in a positive and sustainable way. In this context, it is with great pride that we announce the presence of an iconic figure in space exploration, Lucas Fonseca, at the 2023 World Meeting. To conclude this announcement, we invite you to enjoy an exclusive interview we conducted with him!
Find out who Lucas Fonseca is
Lucas Fonseca is an engineer, space entrepreneur, and the CEO of Airvantis. He also serves on the board of directors of Garatéa, the Brazilian Lunar Mission. His impressive career has made him the only Brazilian to be part of the Rosetta mission, led by the European Space Agency, which resulted in the first-ever landing of a probe on a comet. Lucas is not only renowned for his significant contributions to science but also for his dedication to inspiring and preparing the next generation of space explorers in Brazil.
In our interview, Lucas shares his personal journey, his passion for space exploration, and the objectives of the Garatéa-L mission, which aims to send the first Brazilian spacecraft into lunar orbit.
The importance of this lecturer for space science
With his vast experience and unwavering commitment to the field of space, Lucas Fonseca stands as a milestone figure in Brazil. His involvement in the Rosetta mission and his leadership roles at Airvantis and Garatéa demonstrate his drive to enhance national science and technology.
The Garatéa-L mission, rooted in science, entrepreneurship, and education, plays a vital role in Brazil by expanding scientific knowledge, fostering innovation, and nurturing young people’s interest in space exploration.
The Space Economy and the Future of Humanity
In the context of a rapidly expanding space economy, Lucas emphasizes the need for Brazil to position itself strategically and capitalize on the opportunities presented by this new frontier. He believes that Brazilian participation in the new era of space exploration is crucial for driving economic and scientific progress in the country.
Lucas invites us to ponder the ethical and philosophical implications of space exploration, emphasizing the importance of confronting emerging challenges and ensuring that humanity thrives in harmony with the universe.
Lucas Fonseca and the 2023 World Meeting
Don’t miss the full interview with Lucas Fonseca, a captivating dive into the fascinating realm of space exploration and the pivotal role of inspiring and educating future generations in this field. Read the complete conversation below, in this post, and delve deeper into the groundbreaking work of Lucas and his team as they advance space science and establish Brazil as a key player in cosmic exploration.
The World Gathering 2023 promises to be an incredibly enriching event, providing valuable insights into the forefront of space exploration—a focal point of the new scientific revolution. Lucas Fonseca’s participation is just one of the many highlights that await the attendees. Stay tuned for more news and remember: the future is here, beyond our atmosphere.
The full interview with Lucas Fonseca
Lucas, you are the CEO of Airvantis and have a deep connection with the Garatéa mission, in addition to having participated in the Rosetta mission. Could you tell us more about your journey here and what made you fall in love with space exploration?
Certainly! My passion for space began in my childhood, as I always dreamed of working in a space agency like NASA. To prepare myself for this career path, I pursued a degree in mechatronics engineering at a college in Brazil. Soon after, I seized the opportunity to study space engineering at ISAE-SUPAERO, a renowned institution located in Toulouse, France.
It was during my time at ISAE-SUPAERO that I was fortunate enough to immerse myself in the world of space exploration. Through my education and training, I secured a position at DLR, the German space agency, where I became involved in a groundbreaking project led by the European Space Agency—the Rosetta mission. The primary objective of this mission was to achieve the unprecedented feat of landing a probe on a comet, marking a significant milestone in space history.
After spending nearly three years in Europe working on the Rosetta mission, I made the decision to return to Brazil. It was here that I established Airvantis, a company with a dedicated focus on the space industry. Since then, I have been passionately working towards advancing aerospace science and actively participating in various space missions.
We know that since you were a child you have been fascinated by outer space. How has this passion influenced your career and how do you believe we can instill that same passion in adults and young people to get them more interested in space exploration?
I grew up in the 80s, a time when space exploration was prominently featured in movies. Films like Star Wars and Star Trek, along with various sci-fi movies, were integral to my childhood, and I eagerly watched them. These films sparked my curiosity about the universe and the technologies required for space exploration. I often remark that I never fully outgrew my childhood fascination. I continued to be captivated by space and all its wonders.
In fact, I had the incredible opportunity to visit NASA twice as a child—at the ages of 6 and 10. During my second visit, I made a firm decision that one day I would work at NASA, and that determination has remained with me ever since.
Today, I have had the privilege of working on projects in collaboration with NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Japanese Space Agency. In a sense, I have fulfilled that childhood dream of mine. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been given, especially considering that the field of space exploration is still relatively limited in Brazil. It is my hope to contribute to the expansion and advancement of space exploration in my home country.
You are the coordinator of the Garatéa-L mission, which intends to place the first Brazilian spacecraft in orbit around the Moon. Could you tell us more about this mission and its goals?
After returning to Brazil, I collaborated with fellow researchers who possessed experience in space missions, all with the shared goal of creating something impactful for our country. Our objective was to develop a mission that would hold scientific relevance not only within Brazil but also for the global scientific community. Additionally, we strived to ensure that the mission was cost-effective, taking into account the financial considerations involved.
Building upon this premise, the idea emerged to launch a small satellite to the Moon. We opted for a CubeSat, a type of satellite with compact dimensions measuring 30 cm wide and 10 cm on each edge. Despite its small size, a CubeSat is capable of conducting a valuable scientific mission. This approach was chosen to align with the investment possibilities available in Brazil and ensure the feasibility of carrying out a mission within the available resources.
The Garatéa-L Mission serves as the flagship initiative of the Garatéa Institute, with its primary objective being the successful deployment of a probe to the Moon. This mission holds immense significance in our endeavors as it strives to advance Brazil’s scientific and technological capabilities in the field of space exploration.
The Garatéa-L mission has three pillars: science, entrepreneurship, and education. How do these pillars interconnect in the mission and what is the expected impact of each of them?
In the realm of scientific exploration, the Garatéa-L Mission aims to conduct scientific experiments in the lunar orbit. Through partnerships with Brazilian research institutes, the Garatéa Institute facilitates the sending of experiments to the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts conduct these experiments on behalf of Brazilian scientists. This collaboration contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge and provides valuable research opportunities in space.
In the domain of entrepreneurship, the mission strives to foster the growth of startups and companies focused on the space sector within Brazil. The Garatéa Institute offers support and training to young entrepreneurs interested in this field, to boost the Brazilian economy and promote innovation within the space sector.
In the field of education, the institute seeks to engage students and cultivate their interest in science and space exploration. Through partnerships with schools, Garatéa enables children to propose scientific experiments to be sent into space once a year. The most compelling experiment is selected and performed by an astronaut aboard the ISS. Upon the experiment’s return to Earth, students carry out tests and analyze the results, promoting experiential learning and science education. We have already impacted the lives of more than 10,000 children in Brazil.
These three pillars—science, entrepreneurship, and education—are intricately interconnected within the Garatéa-L mission and the Garatéa Institute. By fostering scientific advancements, supporting entrepreneurship, and encouraging science education among young individuals, we strive to make significant contributions to the field of space exploration and drive progress in Brazil.
The Garatéa-L mission intends to carry out a biological experiment, taking colonies of microorganisms and molecules that will be exposed to cosmic radiation to investigate adaptation in extreme conditions. Could you tell us more about this experiment and what you hope to learn from it?
The Garatéa-L mission considered the flagship of the Garatéa Institute, incorporates a biological experiment that investigates the adaptation of colonies of extremophiles, which are microorganisms capable of surviving in extreme conditions. These extremophile bacteria are collected from inhospitable and challenging locations on Earth, such as deep ocean environments, volcanoes, deserts, and Antarctica.
The primary objective of this experiment is to unravel how these microorganisms manage to endure and adapt to such harsh environments. By exposing these bacteria to the space environment, including cosmic radiation and other space conditions, while in the Moon’s orbit, the mission aims to explore the biological mechanisms underlying their survival.
The knowledge gained from these investigations holds significant potential. Understanding the resilience of extremophile bacteria in hostile environments can offer valuable insights for enhancing habitability in extreme conditions, both on Earth and on other celestial bodies.
This understanding has practical applications, such as improving cultivation techniques in desert areas, developing robust biological systems, and even exploring the potential for human habitation on celestial bodies like Mars or the Moon.
Named after the Tupi-Guarani phrase meaning “searches for life,” the Garatéa-L mission aims to expand our understanding of how life can thrive in diverse corners of the universe, drawing upon the resilient nature of biological agents we already know.
You were the only Brazilian to participate in the Rosetta mission team. How has this unique experience influenced your career and perspectives on space exploration?
My participation in the Rosetta Mission as the sole Brazilian, and indeed the only Latin American, had a profound impact on my career and perspectives regarding space exploration. This unique experience fills me with gratitude for having the privilege of being part of something so exclusive. Simultaneously, it instilled in me a sense of responsibility to share this story with others who share the same homeland as me.
Upon returning to Brazil, my focus expanded beyond the country’s borders to encompass all of Latin America. I endeavored to bring the knowledge and experience gained from deep space exploration missions to the reality of Latin America. My objective is to inspire Latin America to participate in such missions, taking into consideration the economic prospects of our continent.
Understanding the significance of what was accomplished, I am able to reevaluate this reality in Brazilian terms and communicate the importance, for both Brazil and all of Latin America, of actively engaging in this new era of space exploration. It is crucial for Brazil to position itself as a proactive participant with tangible space activities, enabling the country to enter this emerging market and seize the opportunities that space exploration offers to humanity.
You mentioned that the space economy is growing rapidly and will be responsible for huge foreign exchange for participating countries in the very near future. How do you see Brazil in this scenario and what are the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead?
In the current landscape, the space economy is undergoing a significant transformation, transitioning from government control to increased private sector involvement. Previously, space companies primarily relied on government contracts to develop specific space technologies and modules. However, we are now witnessing a rise in more accessible space launch opportunities, enabling companies to develop independent business models without relying solely on government support. This transition is crucial to establish long-term economic sustainability in the space sector.
Within this context, the concept of “New Space” emerges, representing a new era where private companies play a greater role in space exploration. It is essential for Brazil to position itself within this evolving landscape, considering the vast resources available in space, such as minerals in asteroids and potential energy sources. As these companies develop the necessary technologies, they will have access to these resources. It is important to emphasize that participation in this new era of space exploration will primarily be reserved for countries with advanced space programs.
If Brazil does not take proactive steps to participate in this new space economy, it risks missing out on significant opportunities in the future. For instance, in 20 or 30 years, when countries are mining platinum asteroids, Brazil could merely observe as these opportunities pass by. It is crucial to raise awareness among the population, the political class, and business leaders about the importance of Brazil’s engagement in this emerging market. Once the space economy is fully established, it has the potential to become the largest economy on Earth. Therefore, it is imperative to act now to secure Brazil’s participation in this promising sector.
How do you see humanity inserted in the future of space exploration? What are the ethical and philosophical implications we must consider as we move into this new frontier?
Humanity’s involvement in the future of space exploration brings forth significant ethical and philosophical challenges and implications. However, it is important to note that we already experience the widespread use of space technology in our daily lives. From GPS applications for navigation to satellite-based weather forecasts, various sectors such as logistics, agriculture, mining, and telecommunications benefit from these technologies.
As we progress further, we will witness complete activities taking place in space, including manufacturing and other industries. This will result in a growing integration between terrestrial and space activities, blurring the boundaries and marking a revolutionary shift in our approach.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to carefully consider the ethical and philosophical dimensions of this advancement. Space exploration prompts us to reflect on our role as human beings and our connection to the universe. Concepts such as borders need to be reevaluated, and sustainable, inclusive, and responsible approaches should guide our expansion into new horizons.
In this context, I emphasize the importance of Brazil’s participation in this transformation and its positioning within the new space economy. The future of space exploration represents a new chapter for humanity, and it is essential that we embrace it with responsibility and consciousness.
Space exploration has the potential to fundamentally change the way we see ourselves and our place in the universe. How do you believe this shift in perspective can affect our society and our values?
Space exploration has the potential to profoundly transform our perception of ourselves and our place in the universe. Astronauts often describe the “WOW” effect when viewing Earth from space, as it offers a unique understanding of the planet’s interconnectedness and its significance for life.
This new perspective carries a great responsibility. While we have yet to find concrete evidence of life beyond Earth, scientists believe it is only a matter of time. The fundamental question remains: Are we alone in the universe, or is it teeming with life?
This shift in perspective forces us to contemplate our role in the cosmos and our position within this vast universe. Observing Earth from space reinforces the importance of preserving and caring for our planet and recognizing our responsibility towards it. As we venture further into space, it becomes crucial to consider how we will position ourselves in relation to the universe.
This newfound understanding of our place in the cosmos has the potential to impact our society and values. It can awaken us to the interconnectedness of all living beings and inspire the adoption of sustainable and responsible practices. Space exploration challenges us to reevaluate our relationship with the universe and develop a fresh perspective on our existence.
Therefore, as we continue our journey of space exploration, it is essential to embrace this shift in perspective and explore with mindfulness and responsibility, guided by the values that define us as a society.
ABOUT THE WORLD MEETING 2023
The World Meeting offers a unique sensory and spiritual immersion experience that engages participants profoundly and memorably. Through a synesthetic approach, it activates all five senses, aiming to inspire, delight, and deeply engage those in attendance.
This global event brings together diverse disciplines such as science, art, music, and theater, creating a multidisciplinary and multicultural environment. The integration of advanced knowledge and creative expressions is intended to educate, inspire, and uplift participants, empowering them to become agents of positive change in the world.
The World Meeting blends the magic of play with profound spiritual and universal wisdom, providing a transformative space for personal growth and the evolution of humanity. It encourages attendees to explore their inner selves, expand their consciousness, and embrace a deeper understanding of the world and its place within it.
In this immersive setting, participants are invited to expand their horizons, challenge their perspectives, and embrace new ways of thinking and being. The World Meeting strives to create an environment where individuals can tap into their true potential, fostering personal and collective growth and contributing to the betterment of society as a whole.
Be part of building a conscious, sustainable, safe, and spiritualized future! Apply now and join us in Belo Horizonte, from November 3 to 5, 2023.