ESA’s Web-TV Virtual Studios “Earth From Space” videos


The short “Earth From Space” videos from the European Space Agency are very good fun and quite stunning. I’m hooked watching them: brief narrated segments (not sure why a North American narrates but hey ho) showing a different shot of the Earth’s surface from a remote sensing satellite. This issue, for example, looks at the ‘sand seas’ of the Namib Desert, and this one at Venice.

ESA photo added by Jill Stuart
ESA photo added by Jill Stuart

There’s over 60 of them so far, with new ones added regularly.

My own further musings on this… I don’t know what’s more interesting: the content in these videos… or that ESA has it’s own web-TV ‘channel’.I know NASA has long had a TV channel (the only US Government Agency to do so for many years, I believe–if not still?).This must indicate both the public’s interest in space, and also the clever engagement (or cynically, self-advertising) nature of Space Agencies.

I also can’t help but think of the G77 controversies in the 1970s, and the New World Information Order (akin to the New International Economic Order)–suggesting that developing countries don’t have the same sort of control over the dissemination of information as more developed countries, including the spread of imagery and information about territory taken from satellites that are predominantly owned by wealthy countries. These controversies have died down as access to/ dissemination of information via satellites has become more readily available (through the proliferation of space programmes across a wide range of countries globally, and also as use of satellites has become commercialised and thus may be purchased by organisations and governments). Still, I can’t help but wonder how e.g. the US would feel about e.g. China showing pictures of that country’s territory through a web channel…?

Also, I can’t help but think about how remote sensing imagery and also global navigational satellite systems (such as GPS in our phones) means that rarely do we not know where we are anymore. Will we one day be nostalgic about the concept of ‘getting lost’…?



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Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media (print, radio, television, documentary) and regularly gives lectures around the world. From 2013-2017 she was Editor in Chief of the Elsevier journal Space Policy where she remains on the Editorial Board. She is also on the Board of Advisors of METI International, conducting scientific research into messaging potential extraterrestrial intelligence. She is one of an elite number of people to be endorsed by the UK Home Office as an Exceptional Talent Migrant/ World Leader in her Field. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Margaret Mead Award Lecture by the British Science Association in recognition of her cutting edge research. She is trained in both domestic and international mediation and has done consultancy work for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. She has a sub-specialism in women, peace and security and gender based violence. She is a Trustee of Luton All Women’s Centre.


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