Discover ESA’s environmental satellite at the Palais de la Découverte, Paris, 03 April – 26 August 2007
ESA’s environmental satellite Envisat is the subject of a special dedicated exhibition at the Palais de la Découverte, a much-acclaimed visitor centre focussing on science in the heart of central Paris, as part of their programme of activities for the International Polar Year.
The International Polar Year, IPY, is a scientific programme for research and observation in the Arctic and Antarctic. Data acquired during the last IPY in 1957-1958 provided the foundation for much of the polar science knowledge we have today. This year scientists will have the additional aid of measurements from space and ESA is contributing satellite data to many IPY initiatives, to monitor variations in snow and ice cover and examine the critical influence of the polar regions on our climate system.
Space-based observations are unique in that they show natural phenomena on a global level and provide vital data from remote and inaccessible areas. Envisat is the largest Earth observation spacecraft ever built and carries ten sophisticated optical and radar instruments on board. Successfully launched by Ariane 5 in 2002, it has made more than 26,000 orbits around the Earth providing a wealth of data to help understand our planet, secure our environment and bring benefits to the world economy.
Public visiting the exhibition “Envisat, keeping a close watch on the environment”, “Envisat, la sentinelle de l`environnement”, will be immersed in a display of huge satellite images showing spectacular views of land, atmosphere, oceans and ice caps, including changes in the ice sheets, vegetation and rivers, and a global picture of sea temperatures, chlorophyll, water-vapour content and other vital indicators of the state and evolution of our planet.
Visitors can browse through Envisat images and results using interactive computer demonstrations, and leaf through the pages of a ‘magic book’ « Satellites keeping watch over the Earth », to learn more about how slight changes in the oceans, atmosphere, land and ice-cover are monitored from space.
Younger travellers are invited to discover a “Window on the World”, using a joystick to drive their own space vessel on a guided tour of our planet. "Planet Earth, heavens above!", will introduce primary school pupils and their teachers to the different ways in which satellite remote sensing can safeguard our environment.
Films showing Earth observation satellites and the role they play in monitoring the Earth are shown in a small cinema area adjacent to the main exhibition area.
Last update: 30 January 2008