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:
- promote technological and scientific progress
- foster innovation and industrial competitiveness
- ensure that European citizens fully benefit from European space applications
- strengthen Europe’s role in space at an international level
The European Commission outlined an EU Space strategy in 2016 to achieve these objectives along with a number of others.
- Establishing Europe as a global space player
- Ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of new discoveries and challenging projects, as well as achieving a better understanding of fundamental questions regarding the universe, our solar system, the planet Earth and its environment
- Robotic space exploration: e.g. ExoMars in 2017 and 2019
- Ultimately: human exploration of Mars
- Decide, by the end of 2016, on the extension of Europe’s participation in International Space Station Cooperation from 2021 to 2024
EGU space science and exploration main research areas
- Earth observation research and innovation
- Ground-based and space mission exploration of the solar system and beyond
- Solar-terrestrial connection (e.g. space weather), monitoring of the near-Earth space environment
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:
- Near-magnetic-field scaling for verification of spacecraft equipment (Pudney, 2015)
- Dipolarization fronts in the near-Earth space and substorm dynamics (Vogiatzis, 2015)
- Electric solar wind sail mass budget model (Janhunen, 2013)
Recent EGU papers
- From the Sun to Earth: effects of the 25 August 2018 geomagnetic storm (ANGEO, 2020)
- The MetNet vehicle: a lander to deploy environmental stations for local and global investigations of Mars (GI, 2017)
- Dipolarization fronts in the near-Earth space and substorm dynamics (ANGEO, 2015)
- Nonlinear fluctuation analysis for a set of 41 magnetic clouds measured by the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft (NPG, 2014)
- Near-magnetic-field scaling for verification of spacecraft equipment (GI, 2013)
With special thanks to Dr Bárbara Ferreira, former Media and Communications Manager at the EGU, for drafting this webpage.
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