News from ESA
ESA Observing the Earth news
Updated: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Meeting the environmental needs of an ever-expanding Europe requires consistent and regularly updated information on its land cover and use. As part of ESA’s GlobCorine project, a pan-European land cover and use map for 2009 is now available online.
With the commissioning of ESA's CryoSat now complete, the mission has been officially transferred to the operations team. This milestone marks the beginning of the satellite’s operational life delivering ice-thickness data to understand the impact of climate change on the polar environment.
Marking a significant milestone for Europe's next fleet of meteorological satellites, ESA has given the go-ahead to Thales Alenia Space in France to start work on developing the Meteosat Third Generation.
Since its latest series of deadly eruptions, Java’s Mt Merapi has been spewing volcanic ash clouds into the air. Satellite data are crucial for assessing the eruption’s danger to air traffic and public safety.
As winter approaches, northern dwellers will get assistance from space to help them face the harsh weather. Satellite information on snow cover is now available through ESA’s GlobSnow project soon after it snows.
Adding to their unique information from previous tandem missions, ESA’s ERS-2 and Envisat satellites have been paired up again – for the last time. Data from this final duet are generating 3D models of glaciers and low-lying coastal areas.
A year ago today, ESA's SMOS satellite was launched to improve our knowledge of the water cycle. We are now not only closer to understanding more about Earth, but the novel technology employed by SMOS is clearly demonstrating a new way of monitoring Earth from space.
ESA’s Earth-observing satellite Envisat has moved to a lower orbit in order to conserve fuel and extend its life by three years, and is once again delivering invaluable data to thousands of scientists.
Realising a satellite mission is a complicated task, with many milestones to pass before data are delivered to advance our understanding of Earth. However, scientists will soon have access to precious information on ice thickness as the commissioning of ESA's CryoSat draws to a close.
A further campaign to support the development of the candidate Earth Explorer BIOMASS mission recently took place in Sweden. The campaign set out to demonstrate how the mission would be able to monitor changes in forest biomass over time.
As CryoSat-2 works to detect shifts in global ice cover, it carries one small but significant passenger.
Paving the way for the future of the GMES programme, the European Union has formally adopted a Regulation that secures funding for the initial operations phase of GMES, which spans 2011–2013. This Regulation was formalised on 20 October.
ESA and the German Aerospace Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a state-of-the-art optical data relay terminal to be flown on the Sentinel-2 satellite.
Since long time series of datasets are needed to determine changes in our planet’s climate, it is vital that Earth observation satellite data and other Earth Science data are preserved for future generations and are still accessible and usable after many years.
Natural disasters occur yearly on all continents, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and turning millions into refugees. In 1999, as a result of Hurricane Mitch in Central America, the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ was initiated to provide aid workers with satellite data over affected areas.
The Gulf of Mexico oil spill couldn’t have occurred at a worse time for bluefin tuna: they had come to the area – a major spawning ground – to produce offspring. Satellites are helping assess the damage from the disaster on the fish’s spawning habitat.
Scientists are crediting satellite imagery with helping to predict where volcanic eruptions could strike. It is well known that earthquakes can stress Earth’s crust and trigger subsequent quakes, but there has been no proof of this for volcanoes until now.
Our view of Earth is set to become even sharper with new instruments to be carried on ESA's Sentinel-3 satellites. In many ways, it will be like looking at Earth through a new pair of glasses.
ESA PR 2010-23 In 2000, the International Charter “Space and Major Disasters” was set up on the initiative of ESA (European Space Agency) and CNES (France’s Centre national d’études spatiales). Its purpose is to make it easier for emergency services to access satellite data in the event of natural or man-made disasters.
The 2010 edition of the Earth Observation Handbook – just released and available online – provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive overview of existing and upcoming satellite missions, their instruments and measurements of more than 30 space agencies worldwide.