Press Release

Call for Media: don’t miss ESA’s Living Planet Symposium in Edinburgh

By SpaceRef Editor
August 20, 2013
Filed under ,
Call for Media: don’t miss ESA’s Living Planet Symposium in Edinburgh

9–13 September

Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Media representatives are invited to the Living Planet Symposium for the latest results and updates from Europe’s Earth observation satellites and initiatives.

Organised and hosted by ESA with the support of the UK Space Agency, the event brings together more than 1500 scientists and users from across the globe to present their latest findings on Earth’s environment and climate.

The versatility of Europe’s Earth Explorer missions will be the main focus. The three missions in orbit are CryoSat, GOCE and SMOS. Over the past few years they have been providing new information on Earth’s cryosphere; gravity and soil moisture; and ocean salinity, respectively, but there have also been several achievements that surpassed the original scope of these missions.

While CryoSat continues to measure the thickness and extent of sea ice and continental ice sheets, it has also proven capable of profiling land surfaces and inland water targets, monitoring sea-level changes and even contributing to the mapping of ocean floor topography.

Earth’s gravity mission, GOCE, has gathered enough data to map Earth’s gravity with unrivalled precision. Scientists further exploited these data to map the boundary between Earth’s crust and mantle – called the Moho. GOCE also detected sound waves from the massive earthquake that hit Japan on 11 March 2011.

The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite, SMOS, has been helping us to understand the water cycle. But the mission is also being used to monitor Arctic sea-ice extent and thickness, and can even determine wind speeds inside hurricanes.

The next Earth Explorer, Swarm, is planned for launch later this year. The three-satellite constellation aims to unravel one of the most mysterious aspects of our planet: the magnetic field.

The symposium will also see special sessions dedicated to ESA’s programmes and initiatives, including ESA’s key contribution to the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security programme, recently renamed ‘Copernicus’. Financing for this ambitious programme was secured earlier this summer when European Parliament approved the multiannual financial framework budget for 2014–20.

Copernicus relies on the provision of robust data, predominantly from Earth observation satellites. ESA is developing the series of Sentinel satellites for this purpose, and the first satellites are expected to be launched within the next year.


The latest results from ESA’s missions and overview of the Earth Observation and Copernicus programme will be presented during the opening plenary session on Monday, 9 September, 10:30–12:00, followed by a 30-minute press briefing.


  • Welcome Address by the UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts
  • Welcome Address by Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General
  • ‘Earth Observation at the beginning of the 21st Century’ by Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes
  • ‘Copernicus, the European Union Flagship Programme’ by Philippe Brunet, Director at DG Enterprise and Industry, Directorate of Aerospace, Maritime, Security and Defence Industries, European Commission
  • Highlights of Earth Explorer scientific results by Alan O’Neill, Chairman of ESAC


  • Media questions and answers session

The full technical programme will follow after the opening plenary session, and is open to media. Full programme at:

Media registration

For accreditation, please register at:

For further information, please contact:

Julia Short

Press Officer

UK Space Agency

Tel: +44 (0)1793 418069

Mobile: +44 (0)7770 276721




SpaceRef staff editor.