Understanding Earth

About future missions

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ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / The Living Planet Programme / Earth Explorers / Future missions

Understanding changes in the Earth system and the impact that humanity is having on its delicate balance is paramount. The ability to acquire new insight into Earth-system processes poses significant scientific and technical challenges.

However, it also provides the stimulus and opportunity to develop new measurement capabilities, exploiting the unique vantage point of space to study the ebb and flow of natural processes and the impact human activity is having at local, regional and global scales.

The series of Earth Explorer satellite missions are the epitome of Europe’s technical endeavour in realising new Earth-observing capabilities. These missions offer a stream of innovative measurement techniques to explore and understand different aspects of the Earth system.

Priorities identified by the scientific community are used to guide the development of the Earth Explorer missions. Each has been selected to address and fulfil the strategic objectives of ESA’s Living Planet Programme as well as contribute critical new elements to the global Earth-observing system infrastructure.

The guiding principle of defining, developing and operating Earth Explorer missions in close cooperation with the scientific community provides a tool to address the most critical Earth-science questions in as comprehensive and effective a manner as possible.

Read more about the Earth Explorer missions.

Future Missions

Earth Explorer 9
In November 2017, the FORUM and SKIM candidate missions were chosen to be developed further and compete to be the ninth Earth Explorer mission. Reports for mission selection have since been compiled (download FORUM report, SKIM report) and a User Consultation Meeting was held on 16-17 July 2019 in Cambridge, UK. Streaming replay is available in the link in the right bar.

Earth Explorer 10
In September 2018, the Stereoid, Daedalus and G-Class candidate missions were chosen to enter pre-feasibility study and compete to be the tenth Earth Explorer mission.

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