They say they will be working together to ensure that data from Earth-observing satellites are used to their best advantage, through the monitoring of the Earth and its environment, for Earth science observations, research, and applications.
They are pictured above signing the joint statement of intent remotely.
“Climate change is an all-hands-on deck, global challenge that requires action – now,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA and ESA are leading the way in space, building an unprecedented strategic partnership in Earth science.”
“This agreement will set the standard for future international collaboration, providing the information that is so essential for tackling the challenges posed by climate change and helping to answer and address the most pressing questions in Earth science for the benefit of the United States, Europe, and the world.”
Of course, it’s not the first time ESA and NASA have worked together, the agencies highlight. They combined, for example, on field campaigns in the Arctic to validate their respective CryoSat and ICESat missions.
“We are already witnessing the effects of climate change through rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice and thawing permafrost, for example,” said ESA’s Acting Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Toni Tolker-Nielsen. “Both ESA and NASA have excellent tools and the expertise to advance Earth science, so working together we will be able to achieve much more.”
ESA and NASA also work together – along with other third-parties – on the recently launched Copernicus Sentinel-6 mission, which will provide a long-term record of sea-level rises.
Also, they are both currently defining a new gravity mission to examine processes of the Earth system such as the water cycle, S+ESA highlights. “For example, it will ‘weigh’ water in its various locations, such as underground and in the oceans, to understand water mass distribution and transport.”
Image: NASA – NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, left, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, NASA Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Karen Feldstein, and NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen (all left side of image) and ESA (European Space Agency) Director General Josef Aschbacher are seen in a screen capture from a signing ceremony for a new NASA-ESA joint statement of intent aimed at addressing global climate change.