How satellites can help monitor the health of planet earth

We’ve been observing the earth from space for a long time but advances in technology means we can glean even more from the modern satellite.

And that’s what the European Space Agency’s Living Planet Symposium in Prague, is all about.

Simonetta Cheli from the ESA explains: “Satellite offers a unique tool to check our Planet.

Over remote areas such as the Arctic, the satellite can show not only the extent of the ice, but also its thickness, in other word we can predict changes to the ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic.

“The satellite also provides the opportunity to see the evolution of forests, deforestation, rising sea levels, coastal erosion and marine pollution. All these features can be easily seen with satellites.”

These orbital networks are a key factor in coping with climate change and implementing strategies based on Cop21 agreements.

“The data that comes from current missions in orbit and missions to be launched in the next few years will serve not only to see how the climate doing but also to contribute to ‘reporting’ on a country-by-country basis on the evolution of greenhouse gases and CO2,” Cheli adds.

Cheli says satellites can generate up to ten times their initial investment.

“Economic evaluations made by some agencies say that for an investment (in space) of one euro, there is an economic return, such as the benefits associated to products and services based on satellite data, of ten euros. So, an investment of one with a return of ten.”

Satellite technology is crucial, in forecasting harvests and drought and observing air pollution and transport infrastructures.

A powerful tool with a variety of practical applications.