Earth through different eyes
15 September 2017
In the 1960s, photographs of Earth taken by the first astronauts captured the imaginations of people across the world. The pictures not only became icons for space exploration, but also the fragility of our planet. But astronauts were not the only ones with their eyes on Earth.
Satellites flying hundreds of kilometres above our heads continually capture images of our planet and deliver a wealth of data on our environment. In fact, satellite imagery of Earth pre-dates astronaut photos.
"We take many photos to share our experience in space with people on Earth and observe our planet from a unique angle, but our primary goal is running experiments and keeping the Space Station running," says ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who is currently on his third mission to the International Space Station.
"While the pictures we take have some scientific value, these are more for informational or educational purposes. Satellites have more diverse and capable instruments than the one we have on the Space Station and are able to make constant, repetitive observations providing accurate historical scientific data."
Satellite images show the world through a wide-enough frame so that large-scale features can be observed. In addition, satellites offer frequent visits to monitor changes happening to our planet.
Top story on Copernicus
08 November 2017
A constellation of small satellites that provide data on Earth's ice and soil moisture content to complement the Sentinel fleet took the top prize at this year's Copernicus Masters Competition.
The awards ceremony took place on 07 November, in Tallinn, Estonia, in front of an international audience during European Space Week as part of the Satellite Masters Conference & Horizon 2020 Space Info Day.
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