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Milan, Italy

10 May 2019

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ESA's Living Planet Symposium – the largest Earth observation conference in the world –  is being held on 13–17 May in Milan, Italy. Held every three years, these symposia draw thousands of scientists and data users from around the world to discuss their latest findings on how satellites are taking the pulse of our planet.

Over 4000 participants will gather at the largest congress centre in Europe: the MiCo Convention Centre, visible in the top left corner of the image. With its iconic architecture, this modern building has become a landmark. The event will not only see scientists present their latest findings on Earth's environment and climate derived from satellite data, but will also focus on Earth observation's role in building a sustainable future and a resilient society.

In this high-resolution image, captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2 orbiting around 800 km above, the centre of Milan is clearly visible. The famous Milan Cathedral or Duomo di Milano with its surrounding square can be seen in the centre of the image. Taking six centuries to complete, it is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in the world.

Milan is the second biggest city in Italy and, like most large urban environments, it suffers from air pollution. While there is an effort to reduce the emission of pollutants, the city is also incorporating more vegetation into its development plans. This not only makes the environment more pleasant, but the plants also help soak up greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. 

The Bosco Verticale, or the Vertical Forest, for example, aims to inspire the need for urban biodiversity. The two tower blocks have plants and trees planted on its façade, and are located just north of the historical centre. The vegetation covering both towers is equivalent to 20 000 sq m of forest and home to a variety of birds and butterflies. This vegetation absorbs approximately 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

Another example of the city's efforts to ‘go green', is the Biblioteca degli Alberi, or Library of Trees, visible next to the Bosco Verticale. With its geometric design and irregular patches of land, the gardens are home to over 100 000 plants and trees, interlinked with pedestrian and bike paths.

But it doesn't stop there, the local government aims to plant another three million trees by 2030.

This image, also featured on the Earth from Space video programme, was captured on 24 September 2018 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. With its high-resolution optical camera, it can image up to 10 m ground resolution.

For centuries, Nördlingen locals believed the town was built in the crater of a volcano. But in the 1960s two American scientists proved that the depression was, in fact, caused by a meteorite impact. Today, visitors around the world gather to marvel at this glittering town, also known as the backdrop to the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory film.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 is a two-satellite mission. Each satellite carries a high-resolution camera that images Earth's surface in 13 spectral bands. Data from Copernicus Sentinel-2 can help monitor changes in land cover.

Milan, Italy

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