Airbus Defence and Space

Planet Earth – Handle with care

Better observation = better understanding = better decisions

UN Climate Change Conference in Durban: combating climate change is a major international challenge

Throughout the ages, man has made full use of the Earth on which he lives. He has harvested the plants that grow upon it, built dwellings from the clay and the rocks, dug, tunnelled (and, of late, blasted) through its mountains to create thoroughfares, diverted its watercourses, trawled, mined and gathered its minerals and natural resources. Modern man, in this respect, is no different from his forebears – indeed, his activities are more industrious and prolific with every generation.

What marks out our current era, however, is a growing realisation that we have a responsibility towards our planet. The technological advances that have allowed us to grow and manage crops, construct cities and infrastructures, and exploit the geological wealth on an ever greater scale have also given us a firmer understanding of the world’s composition, its systems, and its fragilities.

Due in large part to information about our planet and its processes on a global scale provided by Earth-orbiting satellites, we can see the bigger picture, track developments and take stock of changes. From an Earthbound perspective, it is difficult to collect the range of data necessary and make the decisions we need fast enough to make a difference.

Space-based technologies are an essential tool for helping understand our home planet, look after it and harness its benefits in a way that is more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more equitable.


Find out more in our dossier ‘Planet Earth – Handle with care’