* Signature of a Convention with the City of Sainte Rose
by Dr. Bernard Foing, Executive Director of ILEWG
and Mayor of Sainte-Rose, M. Bruno Mamindy-Pajany
[ Global LUnar Conference in Beijing - 2 June 2010 ]

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Official Inauguration of SALM Sainte-Rose


Piton Sainte-Rose, Wednesday 10 Novembre 2010



1) Address by Mr. Bruno MAMINDY-PAJANY, Mayor of Sainte-Rose

Mr. Vice-president of the Region, dear Frédéric, welcome to Sainte-Rose, dear Guy, Mrs. Headmaster, MM. the Police Officiers, invited Official Guests, Ladies, Gentlemen, dear Friends, welcome to Sainte-Rose on this 10th November.

As everyone knows, we have here a festive celebration " Let's celebrate Nature ", with two aspects, a festive side, and a side about Nature, education and sustainable development, and thus, in the afternoon, we wanted to bring up front a project which we have been trying to set up for years, with Guy Pignolet. As everyone knows, Guy Pignolet is a citizen of Sainte-Rose who for many years has been working in the field of the sciences, and what we wanted, since a few years ago, since 2001, a little bit before my election, I said that, was to manage and capitalize on all this human resources which we have on our territory.

And today, our project for our territory, it is to tell how to manage and popularize the sciences, I indeed say " the sciences ", and today Sainte-Rose advances puts up front the sustainable development, the renewable energies, human beings, Space, and education. We, we told ourselves, are going to make something, a project for our territory, based on the Human beings, Energy, Space and Education.

This afternoon, we have an example of it, with the idea which we had, with Guy Pignolet. Our idea was to see how to manage and implement a project to popularize science, and lead to discovery of Space. As everyone knows, Space generates dreams, and for some time, for some years, with Guy Pignolet, we tried to see what elements we have, what ideas we have, what networks we have, which could bring to the foreground a project here in Sainte-Rose, about Space, about the conquest of the Moon and of Mars. And we have had some experience, for some time, with for example Nasa which came here to track the launching of the New Horizons probe towards Pluto. We also did some thinking, we also had projects with Guy Pignolet, well, since a long time, since we were children, since Sputnik.

At present, the lichee it our biggest project, a lichee is in orbit around the Earth, the Orbital Lichee from Sainte-Rose. Then, with all these elements, we told ourselves, we have to go beyond our elementary elective responsibilities, we have to say here we are, we have to manage well the City Hall, and we have to implement an educational project, which will fascinate everybody, and especially that really will succeed to raise everyone's interest. And today, when we take Sainte-Rose, 180 square kilometers, among which only 3 can support urban development, we told ourselves, we have space, we have the nature, thus let's make a project together, a shared project, and today your presence, Mister President, comforts us in our approach. Somewhere, we also wish this project to become known beyond La Réunion, it is what we made when we were in China a few months ago, in a while I am going to read for you Bernard Foing's message, and then we met Russians, Chinese, Americans, Europeans, French people, to try and say : here is Sainte-Rose, Sainte-Rose on the Planet, we are here, in the southwest of the Indian Ocean, and Sainte-Rose has to be known. And thus today, we are not going to inaugurate a four-storeyed building, we are not going to inaugurate the first journey towards the Moon, but somewhere, it is the objectives which we have set, in this world of research, how can Sainte-Rose join the drive to try really to raise the level and bring passion to our projects, but also how we can give perspectives to this territory. As everyone knows, 10 % of the population is benefiting of the Minimum Guaranteed Income, we have an unemployment rate approaching 50 %, the municipality is the first employer, thus we also want to go out of these every day difficulties, try to raise our heads and look a little farther, look at the Moon, look at Space, to say that maybe that it is the project of tomorrow.

And thus with Guy Pignolet, a retired man, a young retired man, we try to say here we are, we try to drive this project to implement our Lunar Mars Analogue Site in Sainte-Rose. It is going to be the first one in the Indian Ocean, it is going to be the first one in France, thus somewhere it is our pride, and this afternoon, we want to inaugurate it because we wanted to show to everybody our small idea which, we hope, through the accompaniment of institutions, communities, the educational world, can allow us to go very far.

So, welcome you all. At first I say bravo to Guy, who was at the origin of this project, and who follows this project for us as our technical advisor. Today we gave these premises, this old former police station, where we are going to make our Territorial House. Thus it really is to lay a first stone to show our political ambition, but also our ambition concerning the project. Now, I think that all our territory has to capitalize on its human potential. We speak about natural potential, and there, we have human potential, people who worked, who have networks, and Guy Pignolet said that Piton Sainte-Rose, it is the place in La Reunion where we have received the largest number of extraterrestrials, that is people who have been in Space. We really want that here in Piton Sainte-Rose, we have the start of a big project with the Sainte-Rose Lunar Mars Analogue Site.

I once again would like to congratulate Guy on his tenacity, his perseverance, his dynamism to try and outsource this project, to present it to the Region and to other institutions. Thus here is what we wish to do this afternoon. Thank you once again for coming. It interests all of us. I think that the human being has to be in the center of the development of his territory. Education will allow to draw perspectives for the young people. And also there is all the environmental side, it means also to be eco-citizens, and today we have elements, in La Réunion, to show this example to the world, by respecting partnerships, while remaining ourselves. So thanks to all of you. Long life to SALM Sainte-Rose, the Lunar Mars Analogue Site of Sainte-Rose.

I now will give the floor to Mister Frédéric Cadet, Vice-President of La Réunion.


2) Address by Mr. Frédéric CADET, Vice-President of Reunion Region

Mr Mayor of Sainte-Rose, Mr. the Scientific Advisor, Dear Official Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very happy to be here this afternoon for various reasons. I am very happy to be here because, I say it and I mean it very sincerely, this project, this inauguration of the SALM, the Lunar Mars Analogue Site, is exemplary in many respects. I was already present in 2003, Mr Mayor, dear Guy, when you had taken the initiative to register on this territory its ambition for Space, I was present in 2003 when you had announced the reflection on the Spatial Cultural Center, and on the same ground, you had flown water rockets with cosmonaut Jean-Loup Chrétien, together with Japanese friends, and together with numbers of young people of this municipality.

This project is exemplary at first because we are, you are, telling young people that when we have an idea and when we are persevering, when we are firm, when we are pugnacious, we can reach all the objectives that we set. The most beautiful realizations do not come from the best ideas, the most beautiful realizations do not come from massive financing, but the most beautiful realizations come from the courage, from the tenacity, from the will which you put into making your project succeed. And that it is a message, I think, which is a major one in the direction of our youth.

The second message which you send, Mr. Mayor, Mr. the Advisor, with this inauguration of the Lunar Mars Analogue Site, is the following one : you are telling our youth they can be based in La Reunion, in the heart of the Indian Ocean, and yet have legitimate ambitions in the direction of Space. You are, we are, an European territory, we have entered a knowledge-based society, a knowledge-based economy, and what will make the economic development of the territory in the years to come, it is going to be essentially your brain cells and the ideas which you will have.

Thus we have full legitimacy to look at Space and to propose projects which connect to the domains of the aeronautics or the domains of Space. And I am going to give you an example, which is as well exemplary : about twenty years ago, Michael Porter, who is the father of the American Silicon Valley, the father of the notion of cluster, had gone, at the request of the leaders of the Basque country, to the Spanish Basque country, to imagine that would be the development of this territory ten, fifteen, twenty years later. Twenty years ago, there was just one company in the field of the aeronautics on this territory, and Michael Porter had told to the political leaders: " I invite you to invest massively in the field of Space technologies, because it is the sector which is thriving, because you have much legitimacy and vocation to register in this sector.. ". And what do we observe twenty years later?..

Twenty years later, we have 150 companies in the Spanish Basque country which work in the fields of aeronautics and Space, and we have an economy which saw its GDP multiplied by ten in eight years. Thus, the second message which you send, is this one : do not hesitate to go, to turn to technology, do not hesitate to take this technological turn, and it is what the new team at the Region is doing, we determinedly took a technological turn, we are in a logic of cluster structures, we are in a logic of investing in domains such as digital technologies, information and communication, in the field of the energies, and why not, Space.

This investment and this inauguration which you make today, it is also a skillful way to emphasize the technology that prevails on this territory, for companies, but also, and at the same time, for schoolchildren.

Not to be too long, I shall end by telling you, and by telling again to our young people : do not hesitate to have ambition, ambition for you, it is fully legitimate, do not hesitate to have ambition for your territory, it is fully legitimate as well, do not hesitate to aim at the Moon, because if you aim at the Moon and even if you miss it, you will eventually reach for the stars !

Thank you very much, Ladies and Gentlemen.


3) Message by Dr. Bernard FOING, Executive Director of ILEWG,

               ( International Lunar Exploration Working Group )
                     Message read by Mr. Bruno Mamindy-Pajany

Dear friends,

In the name of the community of the explorers of the Moon and Mars, ESA and the Space Agencies, we want to congratulate the inhabitants of Reunion Island, the Municipality of Sainte-Rose, and all the protagonists of the project of the Sainte-Rose Lunar Mars Analogue Site.

The space missions have revealed new faces of the Moon and Mars. Their surface was shaped by processes of impact, deformation of the crust, and most of all by volcanism. Reunion Island gives us keys onto the inside of the Earth. To understand better the evolution of our planet, we have to compare it with the Lunar and Martian worlds. The site of La Réunion and the SALM project will allow to validate instruments, research and robotics simulations or crew organisation to prepare the future exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond.

The wealth of the SALM project also comes from its dimension of French, European and international collaboration, as recognized by ILEWG and by the world community. The SALM also shows the will to involve universities and the public by activities of information, education, commitment. It will contribute to the social and economic development by developing ideas, technologies and useful projects for the next generations.

We are preparing ourselves with great energy for our next ILEWG campaigns at SALM Sainte-Rose. We shall be happy to share here with you our passion for the Moon, Mars and the Earth.

Long life and success for the SALM Sainte-Rose project.


4) Presentation of SALM Sainte-Rose by Guy PIGNOLET, Scientific Advisor

After the statements which were made by Mr Mayor Bruno Mamindy-Pajany and by Mister President Frédéric Cadet, I shall not have much to add, except to describe for you what the use of this permanent base of SALM Sainte-Rose is going to be like.

During two or three weeks a year, we shall welcome here scientists of the international community of Moon and Mars researchers, who will come to test their equipments and their robots, and we shall bring them support and logistics. During the rest of the time, this place will be a cultural center for the citizens of Sainte-Rose and for the population of La Réunion.

I would not like to keep you waiting any longer, and I invite you, Mr. Mayor, if you please, to proceed officially to the opening of SALM Sainte-Rose, and later, we may visit the exhibition.


5) Statement by Mr. Bruno MAMINDY-PAJANY, Mayor of Sainte-Rose

Before cutting the ribbon, I would just like to remind you of our approach : a few years ago, we gave a piece of land to establish the Sainte-Rose Regional Space Culture Center. The municipality had put three thousand square meters of land at the disposal of Science Sainte-Rose, so that we may think about it. When we had told about that, everybody had taken that as a joke, but the idea for us is still the same : we want to invest in the field of teaching, in the field of education, and our contribution, this is it, and other things also, and today, I take advantage of the presence of Mr. the Representative of the Region, in charge of Regional Development, to tell him that we, today, we wish a real popularization of sciences.

When we see that we were labeled Unesco World Heritage with the project that has been carried by the National Park and when we tell to ourselves that there is 70 % of the recognized good which is on Sainte-Rose's territory, our commitment is to see how the population from Réunion can really appropriate that, and understand about what we are talking about. It is not only a question of politicians, technicians, specialists in a domain, but it is also about how we work to popularize sciences, it is a lot of work, but it is also an investment on the human being, because on our island we have to manage to understand where we are, and when we say 70 % of our territory is in the good recognized by Unesco, registered as World Heritage, it is also the will to say that when we go through education, we hand over a relay, and when I said three thousand square meters of ground, could be more, there also, we are calling to the communities, to the government, to everybody, to say that we alone will have difficulties, because we are a small municipality. But we have a political will to do it, we also put all our heart to say we have to manage and invest on the human being, we have to manage to really put education at the center of our debates, to change the mentalities, and especially, to open perspectives. That, Mr. President, I had a wish to tell to you verbally, and also with passion, because I know that somewhere, you are a burning defender of education, and that somewhere, on an island such as La Réunion, we can have the ambition to say, we represent something, and we can be also part of this difficult world, with all its conflicts. In some way, La Réunion may be an example in the world. I wanted to take advantage of this event to tell you this message from the citizens of Sainte-Rose, from Guy, from everyone, from all the Inhabitants of La Réunion.

Now we are now going to cut the ribbon...

[ Bruno Mamindy-Pajany, Mayor of Sainte-Rose, approaches the entrance of the permanent base of the SALM, he cuts the ribbon, distributes pieces of the ribbon to the children and to the official guests, the curtain is raised, and the SALM Sainte-Rose is declared operational.]