Space. The final frontier. Or is it? I like to think of it as the starting frontier; the place we must “return to”, to have any hope for the future of the human race. And there’s no stronger motive for investing in space than this.

Investing in space: the route to the stars

For me, like millions of other people, I dream that our descendants will one day be able to leave our small planet. Leave and make a superhuman step forward by establishing colonies on the Moon, or Mars. And, in the distant future, places beyond our solar system.

Call me a dreamer, I have no problem with that. But think about it, realistically, these ideas and dreams are nothing more than humanity’s only hope of surviving in the long run. Even if we choose to ignore it and block it out of our “Carpe Diem” everyday existence.

Investing in space and the future

Investing in space then, seems like the only way to secure a future for mankind.

But why all this sudden space talk? Let me explain. Basically, I take take part in an international vocational training program organized by the Institute of Higher Education in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Paris, France. In this program, around 14 people aged 35 to 45 get together for a few days per month for nine months. What do we do? We discuss and listen to outstanding guest speakers talk about cutting-edge issues, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and more.

As luck would have it, one of my fellow “students” (we are lifelong learners after all) is Samantha Cristoforetti, the renowned Italian astronaut, from Milan. Samantha, who is of the same generation as myself, is quite a unique human being. Apart from being exceptionally well read, she speaks six languages fluently. She also, has a plethora of different professional qualities; a mechanical engineer and fighter pilot of the Italian Air Force to name just two.

But, what made her famous globally was her role as an astronaut of the Italian and European Space Agency. She still holds the record for the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut (199 days, 16 hours). And, until June 2017, she held the record for the longest single space flight by a woman until this was broken by Peggy Whitson. Best of all, though, she is also the first person to brew an espresso in space. 🙂

Space and the universe as inspiration

Talking with Samantha stimulated a flood of memories from my childhood. Memories of furious reading. The nature and origin of galaxies, black holes, super-nova glare, quasars, and so on. From greedily gobbling up the Greek encyclopedia “Hydria”, and reading manically everything I lay my hands on about astronomy and astrophysics and our solar system. Everything fascinated me – and it still does.

From there, there were even more sources of information to come. I still remember reading Jules Verne’s “Around the Moon” and several books by Isaac Asimov. Finally, I remember being amazed even further by Sir. Stephen Hawking’s “Chronicle of Time” of the second year of high school.

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Hawking in 1998 at the University of Crete. All of the above played a huge role in the fact that the first courses I signed up for in my first year of Computer Science were “Themes of Contemporary Physics” I & II taught by a great teacher Giorgos Grammatikakis.

Now, at 41 years old, it’s all clear to me. If I can retire from sports activities at the age while my capabilities still allow me, without a second thought I will try to study deeper this cognitive subject that always given me huge fulfillment.

Of course all of the above subjects are a little sentimental for me. But still, the purpose of this post is absolutely tangible and practical. Humanity (that’s all of us) has only one way ahead, and that “road” is none other than the one leading to the stars.

A tangible dream

As I said at the start, I am not alone in this dream. The one whereby humans master space travel and establish colonies on the Moon, Mars and beyond. So investing in space is our only option.

You may say that these dreams are nothing more than science fiction. This has been true for quite a few generations now. And of course, I’m fully aware that both me and the vast majority of people living on earth today will complete our respective journeys around the sun without ever seeing this dream come to life.

But, I am convinced that somewhere between our children, our grandchildren and their children, somewhere between 2040 and 2100, journeys to space will be a daily reality. And, that the first colonies of man on the Moon, and possibly on the Red Planet, will begin to flourish.

So then. In order for there to be some hope before a paranoid world leader “pushes the button”, or before climate change wipes out the natural environment that supports us, what can we do? The route to the stars is undoubtedly a matter of the 21st century. Thus the preparation must begin now!

What does this mean for investing in space? For now it simply means education, research, experimentation, business. Any human activity that can help push in this direction. Encourage our children to study and research the subject. Strengthen schools, universities and research institutions in this approach. Support policies that are not only positive for enhancing space research but put it at the heart of their strategy. Let’s start doing the “impossible” now, as this is our only realistic choice.

Escape the satire and dream big

The last two Greek governments, of both Anthony Samaras and Alexis Tsipras, have made announcements about Greece’s action in the field of space. Both were absolutely slaughtered for it in the media.

But while there are of course important immediate issues to solve, the time has come for the theme of space to escape the satire.

What can a country like Greece do to help investing in space? Simple, it must try a few of these for starters:

  • Increase investment in the European Space Agency
  • Strengthen research and academic institutions operating in the field
  • Greek researchers from abroad should also be active in our country
  • Entrepreneurs and investors must start to take the sector seriously

Small steps I know, but if made consistently and strategically, they can lead to major leaps. It is a feasible prospect, as long as we all believe in it.

We are all stardust

When you talk with someone like Samantha Cristoforetti, you are hit firstly with a feeling of great joy. Her enormous interest in humanities inspires me, as well as her interest in philosophy, equality, and human rights. The way forward is an inclusive road, it is a great opportunity for everyone. It is a path of humanity.

And yes, while I realize that I and most probably every reader of this post will never make a journey to the stars, our actions today matter. It’s up to us to ensure our direct descendants will be able to take this route tomorrow. It is perfectly possible to have a very positive contribution to the enormous international struggle for space settlement – even living in a small and weak country like Greece.

All we need to do is to realize how critical an issue it is. And then to coordinate our actions as individuals and societies respectively. After all, we are all simply stardust. So why not help us return to where we came from.


Dimitris Tsingos Dimitris Tsingos

The Starttech Ventures Founder. Tech entrepreneur. Passionate European federalist. Dimitris has been the President of YES for Europe - European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs [2011-15], the Founder of the Hellenic Start-up Association [2011], Board Member at EBAN - The European Business Angel Network [2014-17], 40-under-40 European Young Leader [2012-13], Marshall Memorial Fellow [2018] and a Fellow of IHEIE/PSL [2019].