Earth: April 2012

Optical, radar and laser observations of the Envisat satellite show that it is still in a stable orbit. Efforts to regain contact with the satellite have been under way since 8 April, when it unexpectedly stopped sending data to Earth.

Marking another remarkable collaborative effort, ESA and NASA met up over the Arctic Ocean this week to perform some carefully coordinated flights directly under CryoSat orbiting above. The data gathered help ensure the accuracy of ESA's ice mission.

Our Earth is itself a fragile 'spaceship', but we tend to forget this in our everyday lives. Sometimes distance is required from a subject to appreciate it fully. ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is taking photographs of Earth from 400 km out in space, to remind us just how beautiful and vulnerable our planet is.