The new images can be accessed easily by clicking on the ‘Featured Content’ checkbox in the Google Earth sidebar and further clicking on the ESA icon.
People can take a journey around the globe, exploring detailed images of amazing landmarks and finding out about important changes to the environment. Helpful information, bubbles of facts and figures, scientific explanations and theories will appear underneath the images.
Google Earth Director John Hanke said: "We are inspired to see the European Space Agency using Google Earth to show such fascinating information about our planet through these striking images. This is another important step in helping people around the world to understand more about their environment."
ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes Dr. Volker Liebig said: "Integrating ESA images into Google Earth provides an excellent opportunity to create public awareness and interest for space technologies, and in particular for those related to Earth observation and the protection of the environment."
"The imagery has been specifically chosen to afford Google Earth users the possibility to tour the planet from a bird’s eye view and to gain a different perspective and appreciation of their planet by witnessing its splendour as well as its vulnerable spots."
The images in the collection are acquired by ESA’s Envisat – the largest environmental satellite ever built – ERS and Proba satellites. ESA’s Envisat, launched in 2002, acquires data using three imaging sensors: Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) and Advanced Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR).
The ASAR instrument uses radar to map the land, profile waves and ice, monitor land use and types of vegetation and measure some of the properties of the surface. MERIS acquires images of the planet’s surface and clouds in sunlight, capturing visible light and some of the infrared part of the spectrum. The AATSR sensor scans land and ocean surfaces to measure sea temperature, detect hot spots from forest fires and map the extent of vegetation in different regions.
Data from these sensors play a vital role in helping scientists, governments and others to understand the causes and consequences of global environmental changes – including detecting El Nino events, unravelling the mysteries of global warming, tracking global deforestation and pollution and gaining crucial insights into the rise in ocean levels.
‘Featured Content’ on Google Earth was launched in September and provides an opportunity for content providers like ESA to showcase content such as famous landmarks and scientific information.
Other providers on ‘Featured Content’ include:
United Nations Environmental Programme – The UNEP overlay for Google Earth includes successive time-stamped images illustrating 100 areas of extreme environmental degradation around the world. From the deforestation of the Amazon to the fallout of raging forest fires in Sub-Sahara Africa and the decline of the Aral Sea in Central Asia, this before-and-after imagery spanning the past 30 years offers users an online resource for learning about environmental crisis zones around the world.
Discovery Networks World Tour – The Discovery overlay enables travel enthusiasts and armchair tourists alike the opportunity to virtually visit major world attractions, cities, and natural wonders through Google Earth. Featuring streaming Discovery video segments, users can learn about the history and significance of various world landmarks, national parks, American and European cities, and African locations. These multimedia vignettes introduce users to the wonders of King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of Kings to the history of the gate of the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan.
Jane Goodall Institute – With the Jane Goodall Institute overlay users can visit Fifi and the other Gombe preserve chimpanzees and follow their daily exploits with the Institute’s 'geo-blog' in Google Earth. Updated daily, this geo-blog captures the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, illustrating the Institute’s research on chimpanzees and the effects of deforestation in Africa.
Bernhard von Weihe | alfa
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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