Space Is not Fiction

with Chiara Manfletti



Space activities have the ambition of serving society, economy, and the environment. In our imagination space is science fiction, in our reality space is a cornerstone of our daily life. Space provides: information that guides political decision-making when addressing climate action or biodiversity; services that support the exact timing of bank transactions; the advance of the future of autonomous supply chains; a tool to tackle pandemics. But space is also fascination and inspiration: from fighting against gravity to reach orbit, to traveling across the solar system to take some energy from the planets to accelerate probes.

The space vehicles we built are a source of allurement, because of the knowledge we uncover with them when landing on far away comets but also because with them we can look from afar at our “blue dot”.


Chiara Manfletti

With Italian and German nationality, Chiara Manfletti holds a degree in aeronautical engineering from Imperial College London (2001), a master’s degree in space studies from the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg (2002) and a PhD from University of Aachen in Germany (2010). She worked for the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) as a research engineer in the field of liquid rocket propulsion and in 2016 joined the European Space Agency (ESA), where she has been the Programme Advisor to the General Director at the agency's headquarters in Paris. She was the first President of the Portuguese Space Agency, Portugal Space.


With the "Science Is Fiction” programme maat aims to bridge the gap between science (often complex and coded) and society in general. Very different speakers – scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors, PhDs, artists and other experts – are invited to address complex topics in clear but non-simplistic language.