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N° 11–2017: Call for Media: Results from ESA’s ice and magnetic field satellite missions

17 March 2017

Scientists are convening in Banff, Canada, to discuss the latest results coming from the three-satellite Swarm mission on the magnetic field, as well as new information on changing ice masses from the CryoSat satellite.

Hosted by the Canadian Space Agency and the University of Calgary, the event also brings the heads of the two largest Earth observation programmes in the world – from ESA and NASA – to discuss future collaboration.

Launched in 2013, the trio of Swarm satellites are measuring and untangling the different magnetic fields that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere. Together, these signals form the magnetic field that protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that stream towards Earth in solar winds.

During the weeklong conference in Banff, scientists will present their latest findings derived from Swarm’s measurements on the a newly-discovered difference in space weather between the north and south poles, as well as new information on the high-energy current systems that link the Sun to Earth.

The most detailed model to date of the magnetism of Earth’s crust will also be presented.

Concurrently, a meeting dedicated to the latest information coming out of ESA’s ‘ice mission’ CryoSat will take place. Since 2010, CryoSat has been measuring the thickness of polar sea ice and monitoring changes in the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica.

Diminishing ice cover is frequently cited as an early casualty of global warming – with the opening of the Northwest Passage being one visible result. Since ice, in turn, plays an important role in regulating climate and sea level, the consequences of climate change are far reaching. It is therefore important to understand exactly how Earth’s ice fields are responding to these changes – and by how much.

Scientists working with CryoSat data will reveal just how fast the ice sheets are melting, and how our changing climate affects Arctic sea-ice cover.

Media representatives are invited to the joint opening session for the ‘4th Swarm Science Meeting’ and ‘North-American CryoSat Science Meeting’ 20 March at the Banff Park Lodge Conference Centre in Banff, Canada. The opening session will be followed by a press briefing and interview opportunities with world-leading scientists in these fields, as well as with the heads of ESA and NASA’s Earth observation programmes.

The press event will be moderated by former Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk, current Chancellor of the University of Calgary.

For the latest news and information on the Swarm mission, visit

For the latest news and information on the CryoSat mission, visit

For more information on the 4th Swarm Science Meeting, visit

For more information on the North-American CryoSat Science Meeting, visit  

Media representatives unable to attend the event in Banff are invited to follow the opening session via live webstream. Press can then listen in on the press briefing via telephone, as well as ask questions and conduct brief interviews.


Opening session: 16:30 CET to 19:00 CET

Welcome address by:

-Sylvain Laporte, President of the Canadian Space Agency

-Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation


-Michael Freilich, Director of NASA’s Earth Science Division

-Professor Ed McCauley, Vice President of the University of Calgary

Followed by keynote address:

-The Citizen Scientist - A New Era by Eric Franck Donovan   

-Understanding polar regions with CryoSat by Andrew Shepherd

-The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics by Michael Sideris


Live webstream coverage

A live webstream of the opening session will be available at and


Press briefing: 19:10 CET

Press can then listen in on the press briefing via telephone, as well as ask questions and conduct brief interviews.

Media interested in joining the briefing should request access information via email to ESA’s Media Relations Office at: by 14:00 CET, Monday, 20 March 2017.



About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia is an Associate Member.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with EUMETSAT for the development of meteorological missions.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. ESA also has a strong applications programme developing services in the Earth observation, navigation and telecommunications domain.

Learn more about ESA at

For further information, please contact:


ESA Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 1 53 69 72 99