The International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, entitled Sensing and Understanding our Planet, took place from 23 to 27 July 2007 in Barcelona, Spain, bringing together more than 1400 participants. ESA personnel presented Earth Explorer missions, particularly the upcoming Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission aimed at advancing our knowledge of the water cycle.
The International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS) is a major annual event sponsored by the Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society to bring scientists, engineers and community leaders from all over the world to discuss the latest research findings and up-to-date technology for better understanding Earth. IGARSS 2007 General Chairman, Prof. Ignasi Corbella, said: "Information gathered by all sensors and techniques must be wisely used mainly to understand our Earth. This will improve prediction of natural disasters or global climate change and provide tools to mitigate their consequences.
"As experts on the leading-edge technologies of Earth Observation (EO), we should play a prominent role in achieving these goals. This is our contribution to the important task of assuring people of all around the world access to resources for their subsistence without endangering the fragile equilibrium of our planet."
With their unique view from space, satellites provide objective coverage across both space and time enabling a better understanding and improved management of the Earth and its environment. ESAs EO satellites have given Europe a leading role in understanding the Earths climate, weather and environment.
Scheduled for launch in late 2008, the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission the second Earth Explorer mission to be developed as part of ESA's Living Planet Programme will contribute to furthering our knowledge of the Earth's water cycle and lead to better weather and extreme-event forecasting.