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The heavy rainfall recorded between 18-20 April in southern Romania led to the flooding of several localities in the Vedea hydrographic basin. Hundred of houses have been damaged and four people died. The Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) together with the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations and the National Meteorological Administration provided information and data to the Emergency Management Service, part of the European Earth Monitoring programme (Copernicus). Based on these data and on the satellite images immediately acquired it is possible to create a set of maps in order to objectively identify the affected areas.

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Between 2000 and 2013, a network of sensors that monitors Earth around the clock listening for the infrasound signature of nuclear detonations detected 26 explosions on Earth ranging in energy from 1-600 kilotons – all caused not by nuclear explosions, but rather by asteroid impacts. To put this data in perspective, the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with an energy impact of 15 kilotons.

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The Sentinel-1A satellite has delivered the first radar images of the Earth, since it was launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

This first image showing Belgium was captured on 12 April, just one day after the satellite was put into its operational attitude, and demonstrates the potential of Sentinel-1A’s radar vision, offering a tantalising glimpse of the kind of operational imagery that this new mission will provide for Europe’s ambitious Copernicus environmental monitoring programme.

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The ability of European citizens, policymakers and service providers to access key environmental data on a routine basis will take a major step forward following the launch of ESA’s Sentinel-1A satellite. The 2.3 tonne satellite lifted off on a Soyuz rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST). The first stage separated 118 sec later, followed by the fairing (209 sec), stage 2 (287 sec) and the upper assembly (526 sec).

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Given the fact that the Earth's resources are limited and that most of resources such as gold, cobalt, nickel, platinum and other rare metals came from asteroids that had hit Earth's crust immediately after its cooling, space mining is an obvious solution to enable us to continue to benefit from the technological applications that we have today.

The asteroids and the Moon are the first targets identified by private companies, which plan to start space mining activities in 10 to 20 years' time. Although we have the necessary technologies owing to the scientific missions which were developed by governmental agencies, this initiative still raises financial problems. Moreover, there are debates on topics such as Space Law, on the right of companies to extract resources from celestial bodies and then to market them, but also on the conservation of these celestial bodies for scientific research.

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