Clement Charles

Clement Charles 's thoughts
April 9th, 2014

The future of mankind. On Mars. And beyond.

Vision of the event, and of the present and future of the spaces industries

This articles is derived from my presentation, intros and moderation performed on April 9th, at the event Mars & Beyond, organized by the CSEM. The event had a fantastic line up with astronautes such as Claude Nicollier,  Elena Kondakova, moonwalker Charlie Dukem as well as industrial ecology specialist Prof. Erkman or the technical director of the European Space Agency, Mr. Franco Ongaro.

From the dawn of pre-history, pre-historic men and women have always looked at the skies to dream and organize their life or belief. If you see the importance the astrology page in your favorite newspaper, it seems to be still the case today. After nearly 2000 years of writing and dreaming about travelling to the skies and the moon, the 20th century made the giant leap for mankind that we all know. In a bit more than 50 years of existence, the space industry has proven to be the only place on earth or above where nations peacefully collaborate, where the rules of reason and knowledge supersedes all other forms of power, where the spirit of the science blossom and where mankind can show the best of itself.

At the dawn of the new millennium, living times of climatic, economic and social challenges, that great spirit of space is more needed than ever. To solves the problems of Earth and to transform mankind into a truly multi planetary species, the time has come to reach the stars.

To quote the father of modern rocket sciences, Constantin Tsiolkovski, “Earth is the cradle of mankind but one cannot live in a cradle for ever. »

During that event, the audience has been able to hear and see why the sky is not the limit. The sky is the starting line. Indeed, the event did welcome speaker that pushed the limit of mankind, a unique set of fantastic pioneer that started to open the door of a incredibly large new world, the rest of the universe.

Long duration space flights, walking on other planets or orbital engineering are amongst the most important know how to have to make mankind a multi planetary species. Three essentials skills, three essentials experiences and successes, represented today by three unique profile of astronauts, coming today to share with you their experiences in space, and their vision for Mars, and beyond.

To go and succeed in space, you need heroes and public figures like our astronautes. But the mission is only is the visible part of the iceberg, and nothing would be possible without all the talents that stays on the ground. Space agencies, universities or research centers are also essential to the venture. A research center and technology transfer like the CSEM is developing today the technologies that mankind will need tomorrow to go further. Next to the recent boom of the private space, the space agencies have maintained, financed and improved the key engineering competencies inherited from the 60’s until today, while expanding our knowledge the solar system with many successful unmanned vehicles. Last but not least, universities, thinkers and communicators are also a essential link, as sending astronautes in space or making mankind a multi planetary species can only succeed if the production of knowledge, the quest for meaning, the philosophy supporting the action is continuous, ambitious and well shared.

At the Mars & Beyond event, we did not speak about the use of space and orbital ventures. In a world of GPS, smartphones and satellite TV, this is not an open question. We did not speak about the type of fuel to use or the best way to recycle water, as that’s a practical question where many answers are possible and technically valid.

We spoke about Mars. And Beyond, About humanity, mankind, men and women of this planet to expand the reach of our species, boardings space ships tomorrow like pilgrims boarded on the Mayflower yesterday.

May 27th, 2013

Panel on photovoltaics and technology transfer

I will moderating a pannel  in a event co organized by CSEM and the IEEE, in association with CleantechAlps on tech transfer in the photovoltaics industry in Switzerland. You can download the full program of the event. Here is a few lines about the event and my interest for it.

As some of you may know, my interest in future tech does not stop at the border to screen or the last letter of the keyboard. I am also very interested by all types of clean tech and clean energy production. Not only essential to our survival as a species, I think it’s also a really exciting sector, in many ways like the proto-oil “before the major” era when the production was conducted by thousands of small independent energy provider.

More formally, I really agree with Jeremy Rifkin‘s vision of the Third Industrial Revolution and think that it’s more than time now to move on !

In that sense, I was really happy to be proposed to moderate and animate the upcoming panel debate Thursday in a event co organized by CSEM and the IEEE, in association with CleantechAlps. Just a reminder, the IEEE slogan is “advancing technology for humanity”… very close from my own personal moral.

The title of the event “ CSEM technology transfer and the case of photovoltaics in Switzerland – Neuchatel (CH)”. It groups the general assembly of IEEE Switzerland  with quality key notes: speakers from CSEM and industry will explain the actual status of photovoltaics in Switzerland, both from the R&D as from the production perspective.

Then, I will be moderating a panel round table with Hugo Wyss, Remigio Pian from Viteos, as well as all the other speaker of the day, to close the event.

In addition to the green tech side which is exciting, I also really glad to be included in an event about tech transfer, as I think the links between research and practices, between academics and businesses, is essential. Also, I think it should be increased, reinforced, and such ties would solves many of “ressources” problems on both ends of the pipes. SME needs more brains, Universities needs for funds.


Registration is free but compulsory for attendees.