Monday, August 31, 2009


The picture above is from the European Space Agency - a phenomenal coordination of international space exploration efforts by the EU countries and their partners. It's a representation from a database of space debris compiled by the ESA. Very interesting sequence is on this website. It seems our waste isn't limited to the biosphere. "Waste" is by far the biggest issue created by our human civilization, and it includes pollution and CO2 emissions along with the toxic stuff.

ESA has a page that talks about its mission and purpose, along with some history and background. In its discussion of business and market development, it outlines its earth observation platform. It's marketing earth studies for industrial and business purposes, and the science and technology page showcases some collaborative missions.

It's not a very active site; however one resource has been developed that's now for use in Google Earth. It concerns a topic of very recent concern, that of global warming and its impact on the biosphere as land dries out and temperatures rise. The ATSR World Fire Atlas is here. Select the country from the map, specify the timeframe, and select Google Earth output format. If you've got Google Earth installed, the dataset will come up mapped on an interactive globe that can be navigated very quickly.

I don't suppose there's anything further we can do to obliterate our planet? NASA hasn't said much about this...until very recently.

Update 1/17/14: The Japanese have come up with a proposal to deal with this problem - garbage management in Low Earth Orbit.

Update 2/19/20: Avoiding space debris might require new legal framework, US lawmakers say