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European Geosciences Union

Space science & exploration

The European space policy, first adopted in 2007, recognises the space sector as a strategic asset that drives growth, innovation and employment, contributing to Europe's prosperity.

Space-related technology can tackle some of the most pressing issues Europe faces today, with Earth observation programmes such as the EU initiative Copernicus helping us fight climate change, manage natural disasters, and adapt to a changing environment. Europe’s own global satellite navigation system, Galileo, on the other hand, provides highly accurate positioning, navigation and timing information around the world. These data have applications in areas such as transport, security, energy and communications.

But space policy encompasses more than monitoring our own planet. Space science helps humanity answer overarching questions about the history of the solar system, how our planet came to be, and the origins and evolution of life, while exploring the potential for life elsewhere. The ongoing discovery and exploration of space attracts people’s attention and draws nations together, while helping advance scientific and technological research. A recent example is the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta mission.

The EGU, through its members, participates and collaborates with ESA in many of its programmes and take part in many other space and planetary science research programmes within EU and ESA member states.

Current EU policy

European space activities are governed in collaboration by the EU, ESA, and their member countries.

Europe’s space policy became a reality in May 2007 when the Council of the European Union and the European Space Agency adopted the ‘Resolution of the European Space Policy’. In 2011, the European Commission drafted a new space policy document with the aim to give a stronger role in space matters onto the EU, which was adopted by the European Parliament in early 2012. The document, ‘Towards a space strategy for the European Union that benefits its citizens’, identifies the four objectives for EU’s space strategy:

The European Commission outlined an EU Space strategy in 2016 to achieve these objectives along with a number of others.

Future challenges

EGU space science and exploration main research areas

Related EGU General Assembly sessions

The EGU has two journals in the areas of space science and exploration: Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) and Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems.

Some recent, space science related articles within these journals include:

The EGU General Assembly always features sessions within the fields of space science and exploration. The list below highlights some session from the 2015 general assembly.

Recent EGU papers


With special thanks to Dr Bárbara Ferreira, Media and Communications Manager at the EGU, for drafting this webpage.

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