About future missions

The Changing Earth

Earth Explorer 7
In May 2013, the Biomass mission concept was selected to become the next in the series of satellites developed to further our understanding of Earth.

The procedure for developing new Earth Explorer missions involves the scientific community from the very beginning.

Through a peer-reviewed selection process, this on-going user-driven approach provides tools to further understand and monitor our planet.

In 2009, the Biomass, CoReH2O and PREMIER missions were selected for feasibility study and their resulting Reports for Mission Selection were published in June 2012.

The Earth Explorer 7 User Consultation Meeting was held in Graz, Austria, on 5–6 March 2013 where the three missions were presented to the scientific community. Following the meeting the Earth Science Advisory Committee recommended that the Biomass mission should be selected. In May 2013, ESA's Programme Board for Earth Observation gave its approval to the selection of Biomass, but also requested that ESA ensures the best value for money to Member States by confirming implementation of the mission when the full industrial proposal is available.

Biomass aims to take measurements of forest biomass to assess terrestrial carbon stocks and fluxes.

The mission employs a novel P-band synthetic aperture polarimetric radar operating at 435 MHz and a 6 MHz bandwidth. In addition to valuable data on forest biomass, the choice of radar sensor means that the mission could also provide new information on ice-sheet thickness and internal structures in cold regions, subsurface geology in arid regions, as well as data on soil moisture, permafrost and sea-surface salinity.

Earth Explorer 8
As a result of the Call for Proposals for the eighth Earth Explorer released in October 2009, the Florescence Explorer (FLEX) and CarbonSat mission concepts are currently in Phase A/B1.

Last update: 3 March 2014

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