On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of European collaboration in space, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, located in Rome, hosts the exhibition “My Planet from Space: Fragility and Beauty”. The event was attended by the heads of ESA, NASA, Italy’s space agency and representatives from the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Such event aims at increasing awareness on our planet fragility, through the eyes of the satellites.

The images collected manage to capture the beauty and the restlessness of a world that is changing due to global warming: melting glaciers, rising oceans, rain forests under threat.

“When viewed from orbit, our borderless Earth inspires a sense of humility, unity of humanity and also wonder,” noted NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “But it shouldn’t take a ride into outer space to convince people of the beauty of our planet Earth, and the need to take care of our pale blue dot in the Universe.”

“There is no alternative to our planet,” ESA’s Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, reminded the audience. “We have to take care of planet Earth – and this is the main objective of the exhibition.”

Glaciers melting, rainforests threatened by deforestation, growing desertification, uncontrolled urban sprawl – the exhibition highlights the importance of spaceborne technology in the management and protection of natural resources and the global environment.

Bolden highlighted the responsibility of space agencies to provide vital information to respond to the critical challenges facing our planet: “Climate change is the scientific and societal challenge of our generation.”

Roberto Battiston, the President of Italy’s ASI space agency, noted that while space technologies have been helping us to make numerous discoveries about our planet for decades, we are only at the beginning of Earth observation applications and the exploitation of data to mitigate the effects of climate change. 

This series of lagoons and tidal estuaries is fed by freshwater rivers and connected to the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico by two channels. About half of the lagoon’s water is renewed every nine days mainly through changing tides. Credit: USGS/ESA

Federico Garimberti, spokesperson for the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU, touched on the practical applications that space research has in our daily lives.

The head of the representation of the European Commission in Italy, Lucio Battistotti, spoke about the space sector as an important economic source, supporting the development of small and medium enterprises throughout Europe.

The exhibition also includes images taken in 2013 from the International Space Station by ESA astronaut and ambassadorfor the six-month Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Luca Parmitano, during the mission "Volare" of the Italian Space Agency.

The exhibition is open to the public from 30 September to 2 November 2014.

'My Planet from Space: Fragility and Beauty' is designed to address a wide audience, with particular focus on the younger generation. It aims to increase awareness towards a more environmentally responsible lifestyle, promote the sustainable exploitation of natural resources and highlight the great potential of innovative space technology.

The exhibition is promoted by ESA, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, the six-month Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and Roma Capitale.