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N° 18–2014: Call for Media: first results from ESA’s Earth’s magnetic field mission

6 June 2014

The first set of high-resolution data on Earth’s magnetic field from ESA’s Swarm mission will be unveiled at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on 19 June. Media representatives are invited to the event to find out more.

The data show how Earth’s protective shield has changed over the past six months.

Launched on 22 November 2013, the three-satellite Swarm mission is important for improving our understanding of this mysterious aspect of our planet.

The magnetic field protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles that bombard Earth in ‘solar winds’. Without this protective shield, the atmosphere as we know it would not exist, rendering life on Earth virtually impossible.

But the field is in a permanent state of flux. Magnetic north wanders, and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips, so that a compass would point south instead of north. The strength of the magnetic field constantly changes – and it is currently showing signs of weakening.

Swarm is the first space mission to provide long-term and high-resolution mapping of changes in the field. By analysing the different characteristics of the field, the mission is providing new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside our planet to space weather caused by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.

Media representatives are invited to the opening session of the ‘3rd Swarm Science Meeting’, followed by a press briefing and interview opportunities with world-leading scientists in this field, on 19 June at the IDA Conference Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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

For more information on the 3rd Swarm Science Meeting, visit  

Preliminary programme (all times in CEST)

09:00–10:45 Registration and coffee

10:45–10:55 Welcome address by Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science

10:55–11:05 Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes, provides overview of ESA’s Earth observation activities and the Swarm mission

11:05–11:15 Anders Overgaard Bjarklev, President of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), addresses the role of Denmark and DTU Space as technical and scientific leaders in the Swarm mission

11:15–11:35 Overview of Earth’s magnetic field, by Prof. Andrew Jackson from ETH Zurich

11:35–11:55 Update on the status of the Swarm mission, by ESA’s Roger Haagmans and Rune Floberghagen

11:55–12:15 Presentation of first scientific results and early applications from the first six months of Swarm data, by Nils Olsen from DTU Space

12:15–12:30 Claudia Stolle from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences provides an overview of the space environment and its weather as seen by Swarm

12:30–13:30 Question & Answers, followed by individual interview opportunities

Live webstream coverage


A live webstream of the opening session will be available at

About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space. It 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 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with eight other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

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.

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

Today, it 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.

For further information:

ESA Media Relations Office


Tel: + 33 1 53 69 72 99