Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

ESA’s "Earth suite" spacefracts June 4, 2009

Filed under: earth,future,space research,technology — Radiance @ 12:00 AM
[Artist’s impression of Goce, image source: ESA]
Most of the spacecrafts launched from our planet are aimed at studying other planets in and outside of our solar system, the outer space, deep space and astronomical bodies and phenomena therein. The ones that enter into a geo-centric orbit are mostly used for communication purposes between various parts of the planet. Very few have been used to study the Earth, the home of these spacecrafts and its creators.

However, European Space Agency’s (ESA) launch of Goce gravity mapping satellite in March 2009 marked a beginning of a “geo-centric” space programme. The satellite is part of an armada of European spacecraft being sent up to study the planet. The BBC News reports,

“We have 24 satellites funded and ready to be launched over the next decade; something over a billion [euros] in expenditure per year,” said Stephen Briggs, the head of Earth observation science at ESA. “This allows us to take a major role worldwide in providing a global system for the observation of the Earth and for a better understanding of the processes which survive thereon,” he told BBC News.

Goce will map the subtle variations in Earth’s gravity field
Smos will study ocean salinity and soil moisture
Cryosat-2 is designed to map the Earth’s ice cover
Aeolus will use an innovative laser to measure winds
Swarm is a trio of satellites to map the Earth’s magnetism
Earthcare will examine the formation and effects of clouds
A.N.Other will emerge from a current selection competition


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