47-48/2014 A happening place
There are moments when some people wish the Euro- peans would get lost an a trip to the moon – but there was no such feeling on 12 November, on the day when 17 old continent countries achieved what no other so-called space-travelling nation has succeeded at! People on the moon? An explorer on Mars, or any other planet? No – the European Space Agency’s robot Philae landed on a comet, a feat no man-made object had achieved before.
The project entailed a massive amount of logistical planning and execution, an accomplishment that we will address at another time in the ITJ. I just want to emphasise here that this historic and pioneering performance came dirt cheap. The ESA’s Rosetta exploration project may have cost more than EUR 1 billion, making it the most expensive undertaking in the history of European space exploration, but this still makes the 20-year mission far cheaper – and perhaps faster too – than the construction of a new airport in Germany (Berlin) or France (Nantes). Especially belittling detractors may even claim that it may be cheaper and simpler to establish an airport on a comet than in Europe...
We would not go quite so far, of course, and will look away from outer space for a moment – as well as from Egypt, from where the poetic names for the cometary episode originate – and turn to Italy. There too there is a premiere to report. The special supplement in this issue of the ITJ, which reports on the transport and logistics industry across the Alps (from where I’m sitting) will be published in Italian for our readers there. This means we have added a seventh language to our repertoire. English, French and German are standard, as you know, and some of our Specials appear in Portuguese and Spanish for our audience at the São Paulo intermodal trade fair, and in Russian for the Transrussia event. This new Italian edition once again underlines what the «I» in ITJ stands for. Italian – also an official language in Switzerland – is the mother tongue of the population in one of the largest and most important global economies – despite the recent turbulence. As my colleague Jutta Iten says in the editorial of our Italy Special – it’s a happening place!
Enjoy reading about it.
Head of aviation