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ESA moves forward with Destination Earth

on 22 December 2021

Earth observation provides a wealth of information to benefit our daily lives.

As the demand for satellite data grows to address the challenges of climate change and a growing population, ESA, under the leadership of the European Commission, along with its key European partners, are developing high precision digital models of Earth to monitor and simulate both natural and human activity, to enable more sustainable development and support European environmental policies.

On the last ESA Council, Member States approved a ‘Contribution Agreement', which paves the way for cooperation with the European Commission on the Destination Earth initiative, in the context of the Digital Agenda of the European Union.

Destination Earth (DestinE) hosts digital twins — digital replicas of various aspects of the Earth's system — that can monitor, analyse, predict and safeguard various terrestrial aspects including climate dynamics, natural disasters, food and water security, ocean circulation and biodiversity.

Constantly fed with Earth observation data, combined with in situ measurements and artificial intelligence, the digital twins provide us with highly accurate representation of the past, present and future changes of our world. 

The digital twins will be accessible through a user-friendly and secure cloud-based digital modelling and simulation platform, that will be developed by ESA. 

Specifically, DestinE will:

  • Support the prediction of both natural disasters and man-made environmental damage with high precision.

  • Enable the continuous and accurate monitoring of the health of the planet by focusing on the effects of climate change, for example on the oceans, water, Earth’s ice caps, land use etc.

  • Allow us to better understand the socio-economic effects of climate change and the occurrence of extreme natural disasters.

More details here.

Image credit: Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019–20), processed by ESA and cloud layer from NASA