The natural processes that shape our planet’s systems are dynamic, complex and highly interdependent. Understanding the intricacies of the Earth system and how human activity is affecting the natural world is a huge scientific challenge. It is crucial that we continue to learn more about our planet if we are to better predict the effects of change and respond to issues that humankind will face in the coming decades. Responding to these needs, ESA’s Earth Explorer missions provide an important contribution to the global endeavour to further our understanding of our planet.
The Explorers are research missions designed to address key scientific challenges identified by the Earth science community while demonstrating breakthrough technology in observing techniques. This user-driven process of mission selection has given the Earth science community an efficient tool for advancing the understanding of the Earth system. The science questions addressed also form the basis for development of new applications of Earth observation.