Space for our Planet: Space Solutions for a Sustainable World

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Enabling & Support

28/09/2021
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At ESA, we believe that we have a responsibility to use our space technologies, applications and services to benefit planet Earth and humankind. Some examples of how we do this are now on display in Paris and Brussels at a new exhibition called Space for our Planet: Space Solutions for a Sustainable World.

Space for our Planet shows the crucial role of space in our transition towards a sustainable future. The exhibition is made up of 25 portraits of ‘agents of change’. From fishers to climate experts, astronauts to students, and oceanographers to doctors, the 25 interviewees share their stories of how they are using space to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ESA, the European Commission, French Space Agency CNES, NEREUS, and GIVE are the main participants in the exhibition, which is being produced under the patronage of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. Through audio interviews, images and text, each portrait tells the story of how space is providing a specific solution to one of the 17 SDGs.

Space for our Planet photo exhibition on the Esplanade of the European Parliament in Brussels

In 2018, ESA became the first space agency to have a catalogue of space projects supporting the SDGs. Anybody can browse the catalogue; it provides examples of how space is already supporting the SDGs, creating visibility for the added value of space data, applications, and technologies for tackling the global challenges we are facing today.

“All our space assets are deployed in monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” says ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher. “Thanks to our satellites, we provide crucial indicators and information about targets and the achievement of goals. For those goals related to poverty, food security or water quality, for example, we use Earth observation satellites combined with telecommunications and navigation services to monitor agriculture, evaluate crop yields and ensure that people have access to food.”

ESA has contributed to Space for our Planet with concrete examples of how data from Earth observation, telecommunications and navigation satellites – as well as knowledge gained through International Space Station research – support SDGs: eradicating poverty, improving human health, contributing to industry and innovation, promoting responsible consumption, and fostering world peace.

When and where can you see the exhibition?

Space for our Planet photo exhibition on the Esplanade of the European Parliament in Brussels

Space for our Planet will be exhibited in three different places across Brussels and Paris this autumn:

  • 27 September – 18 October, Esplanade of the European Parliament (Brussels)
  • 1 October – 15 November, Observatoire de Paris (Paris)
  • 19 October – 15 November, Université Libre de Bruxelles (Brussels)

Simonetta Cheli, Head of Strategy in the Programme and Coordination Office of ESA’s Directorate of Earth Observation, represented ESA today at the launch of the exhibition outside the European Parliament. Invited to give her view on ‘space for our planet’, she said: “Satellite technologies, in particular in Earth observation, have become indispensable – some say a game changer – in measuring progress towards these goals set by the UN and the Green Deal proposed by the European Commission.”

ESA’s Simotta Cheli (second from right), cuts the ribbon to open Space for our Planet on the Esplanade of the European Parliament in Brussels

To remain safe and accessible to all, the first three events will run outdoors and in public. Respecting COVID restrictions, the exhibition will then travel around the world over the next three years.

But not to worry if you are unable to make it to a physical exhibition; a virtual version is also available online in English and French. The multimedia website hosts all 25 interviews, as well as extra photos and background information.

What ESA activities feature in the exhibition?

Coffee is grown by about 37% of the Timor-Leste population, in the shade of trees in mountainous areas that are very difficult to access. ESA is working with the Asian Development Bank to use Earth observation data to monitor coffee plantations and help combat poverty.

The Biological Light Fieldable Laboratory for Emergencies project from ESA Space Solutions aims to provide the best possible diagnostic tools for crisis areas. It does this by offering essential data for faster emergency responses.

For glaciologists working in polar regions, data transmission is a real problem. There are no telephone networks, Wi-Fi or electricity. Thanks to Astrocast, a constellation of satellites launched in partnership with ESA, essential scientific information reveals glacial melting on a daily basis.

When we talk about responsible consumption and production, we can make a direct link with the International Space Station. The ISS receives all of its energy from the sun and recycles almost 95% of its water. Experiments into biofuels are also carried out on board.

For 13 months, Nadja Albertsen lived on the Concordia science station as a doctor-researcher for ESA. The Antarctic station is an experimental site for space exploration, where we learn to live in a responsible way and to protect planet Earth.

There are currently still 58 countries around the globe affected by land mines. The ESA-supported MIDAS project aims to clear minefields more efficiently by combining satellite navigation and Earth observation techniques.

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