National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
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Willy Benz, director of the NCCR PlanetS. (SPACE/UNIBE/Alessandro Della Bella)

As measures are taken to slowly return to normal life, the amount of damage caused by the Covid-19 on people’s life and economy is starting to show. Help is needed everywhere and is being provided as best as possible by the authorities, but anxiety remains as to how tomorrow will be.


This uncertainty about the future is also present at PlanetS. While we were incredibly lucky with the launch and commissioning of the CHEOPS satellite, a number of ongoing projects have been delayed and will come at an extra cost. Maybe even worse, dreams we had about future endeavors might never come true as funding priorities have shifted now towards more pressing needs. Research and education could indeed be easy targets for savings in the coming years as the economy needs to recover. But this would be short-sighted as economic wealth is very much linked to an educated population and research is at the beginning of the innovation value chain. Furthermore, large research projects transfer know-how and secure jobs not only in academia, just what the doctor ordered for this recovery…


So yes, let’s keep our dreams of instruments capable of analyzing the atmosphere of exoplanets tens of light years away from the ground or from space and of examining the planets, moons, and all the small bodies of our solar system from up close. We will continue to push for making all this happen because we are incurable optimists who believe that new knowledge is for the long-term benefit of mankind.


With my best wishes,

Willy Benz, director of the NCCR PlanetS.

Categories: External Newsletter, Uncategorized

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