How space science is making a world of difference to life on earth has been spelt out at the European Parliament by a leading University of Leicester scientist.
Professor Alan Wells -who was instrumental in establishing the National Space Centre in Leicester – was speaking last week at the European Parliament on the growing importance of space technologies for earthbound applications.
The Emeritus Professor from the University's Space Research Centre highlighted the environmental, social and business applications of space technologies – including applications currently being used in the East Midlands.
These applications will be exemplified at a special business-focussed event to be held this week (Thursday, 18th October) at the National Space Centre, Leicester. It aims to stimulate University-Business collaboration in developing new phone apps that use location-based data from satellites for every day user purposes.
Professor Wells was in Brussels to launch a new publication that provides insights into how Europe's Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) space programme is being used in new applications and services across Europe. The publication is produced jointly by the European Space Agency-ESA- and NEREUS, the Network of European Regions Using Space Technology. Professor Wells is a Vice-President of NEREUS and is a leading editor of the publication.
Speaking at the European Parliament, Professor Wells highlighted how satellite technologies - being used in Leicester to monitor traffic pollution - exemplified the practical application of space science.
He also described how businesses were benefiting from novel space technologies. The energy sector, for example, is turning to space to assist with managing wind farms and solar energy conversion.
Professor Wells told members and guests at the European Parliament: "Earth Observation data is being used to predict and monitor water conservation and water reserves in the lakes and mountain snow across Europe- supporting the EU water directive.
"Air pollution from traffic and industry and its effects on citizens' health is being monitored using GMES resources.
"Agriculture and forestry are important economic industries in many regions. Numerous papers show how GMES is helping to protect the forests and to improve crop yields and farming efficiency.
"Earth Observation data is being used to estimate insurance liabilities associated with crop damage arising from extreme weather events.
"Managing coastline erosion and water quality in estuaries and coastal waters is another important area."
Professor Wells also told over 150 people attending the presentation about the use of space science for crisis planning and management: "Crisis management using space covers many risks: supporting the rescue service responding to earthquakes and volcanoes; identifying risks to buildings and bridges from subsidence, oil spills, rapid response to forest fires."
The UK launch of the publication will occur at the free business innovation event at the National Space Centre on Thursday 18th October.
You can find out more about the business event here:
Press release about the business event:
You can find out more about the event at the European Parliament here:
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