Alexander Gerst in the cupola
Science & Exploration

Earth Guardian

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Blue dot

From the Station’s Cupola observatory, ESA Alexander Gerst had a privileged vantage point to observe the beauty of our planet. But its fragility and global threats are also more obvious when seen from space.

The loss of biodiversity, climate change and the human habits of consumption are increasing problems for our planet. The Earth Guardian project educated pupils about the causes and promoted possible solutions.

Alexander encouraged schoolchildren aged 7–12 years to create their own environmental protection project.

Cologne seen from Space Station
Cologne seen from Space Station

Europe’s ambassador in space asked students to pay attention to geographical features such as oceans, rivers, landscapes, mountains and forests in their area during the summer holidays.

As an Earth Guardian, he questioned students about the role of these elements for human life, their value as energy sources and protection measures. 

Pupils supported their local observations with footage of various terrestrial events like cloud formation, mountains with glaciers and deforestation.

In return, Alexander shared with them his views from orbit. The International Space Station will serve as his unique outpost for Earth observation.

Lake two-face
Lake two-face

The students could link their own experiences to the astronaut’s reports from space. Alexander stimulated their curiosity by showing them how global-scale phenomena can have similarities to their local experiences.

Earth Guardians on the ground learnt how certain views can change the perception of the environment. For example, the global effect of local actions are more easily observed from a distance. The sense of fragility, beauty or environmental pollution can also differ depending on the viewer’s perspective.

Youngsters studied daily problems in their environment and thought about sustainable strategies for the future.

Sahara irrigation
Sahara irrigation

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