European Space Agency Flickr Update

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Thar Desert, India
16-06-2017 10:09 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Thar Desert, India

The Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite brings us over northwest India with this false-colour image captured on 4 March 2017.

The Indian city of Bikaner is visible in the lower part of the image, surrounded by a varied landscape of agricultural structures and sand dunes.

The city lies in the Thar Desert, an arid region covering about 320 000 sq km in India and Pakistan. Most of the desert is covered by large, shifting sand dunes, some which are visible in the upper part of the image. The high winds also carry dry soils to neighbouring fertile lands, degrading them.

Archaeological evidence suggested that the region was once lush countryside, but the over-exploitation of land and water resources by humans over thousands of years drastically changed the landscape into what we see today.

In recent times, India has turned its attention to restoring the ecology and curbing the desertification of the region. For example, the Indira Gandhi Canal bringing water to the area pictured was built to keep the desert from spreading to the fertile areas, and to reclaim the land with irrigated planting projects. In this false-colour image, vegetation appears red.

Every year, 17 June marks the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

ESA helps the UN Convention to Combat Desertification by providing annual global datasets on land cover and land cover changes. ESA also supports the development of operational guidelines for countries to engage in the Convention’s Land Degradation Neutrality initiative.

This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.

Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Mission control birds-eye view
16-06-2017 09:21 AM CEST

europeanspaceagency posted a photo:

Mission control birds-eye view

Operations image of the week:

In a beautiful aerial view captured on 17 April 2017, ESA’s mission control can be seen at lower left, sitting on the western edge of the city of Darmstadt, Germany.

In the background, Darmstadt extends to the east, giving way to the forests and farms of the Odenwald region, part of the Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geopark.

The 3500 sq km Geopark provides a unique window into 500 million years of Earth history. It is bounded just to the north of Darmstadt by the UNESCO world heritage Messel Pit fossil site.

This photo is part of a series taken by the Photo Club working with the ESA Aviators Club to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the control centre.

Since 1967, more than 70 satellites belonging to ESA and its partners have been flown from this European Space Operations Centre. Currently, 11 missions comprising 18 satellites are under control, with almost a dozen more in preparation.

The centre is home to the engineering teams that control satellites, manage ESA’s global tracking station network, and design and build the systems on the ground that support missions.

As part of this year’s celebration of five decades’ service, the centre will open its doors on 8 September for the Long Night of the Stars (more information and tickets).

Credit: ESA/C. Schurig/A. Olchawa, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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