Space Tech And The Possibilities of Reducing Carbon Emissions

Joining live from the International Space Station, astronaut Matthias Maurer revealed at the Davos Agenda 2022 that he could see the impact of climate change from space
Space Tech And The Possibilities of Reducing Carbon Emissions

Can space research help planet earth? This was the moot point of discussion at "Live from Space: The Next Frontier for Knowledge and Action", a session held in the World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda 2022. 

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer participated in the session live from the International Space Station (ISS). Along with former Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, UAE Minister Sarah Al Amiri, Astra founder Chris Kemp and ESA Director-General Josef Aschbacher, he delved into the possibilities with space exploration. 

Maurer revealed that during his six-month mission with the ESA, he will support a wide range of science experiments and technological research on transmissions of disease, the reduction of carbon emissions, and human health-related activities.

The astronaut said, "We have worked hard in the past few weeks and months to send back cargo that we harvested for scientists to analyse all these samples that we produced in space, and to produce science and knowledge for humanity out of it."

He noted that the cross-country and international collaboration aboard the space station should also be a model for how we tackle major challenges on Earth - in particular, climate change.

The astronaut could see the impact of climate change from space. "When we fly around the earth (16 times a day), we cross over areas that are very arid and dry and I can see scars on the planet where people are digging deep to extract resources. So we are actively reshaping the planet. We are cutting down trees and burning down rainforests. I see the flames. I also see the flooding."

Gore highlighted the work of Climate TRACE, a global coalition that independently tracks greenhouse gas emissions. "Some things you can see directly from space, like methane, but the difficulty of measuring CO2 emissions against a highly varied CO2 background on the earth make it necessary to use AI to get precision we need," he remarked. 

He added that if you consider something like GPS, it is clear how quickly the opportunities offered by space tech and space exploration can become integrated into our lives.

But the data and knowledge that is gained from space should not be limited to those who own satellites, expressed Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates. "If only countries with access to satellites get access to the data, we deny other countries the opportunity to benefit from that knowledge," she said.

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2022, space is increasingly crowded and commercialised. 
 Josef Aschbacher, Director-General of the ESA, noted that the volume of satellites indicates that regulation is important.

According to Chris Kemp, the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Astra, "Access is increasing all the time thanks to significant falls in the cost of putting satellites into space and this has enabled a new generation of entrepreneurs to build companies, to take these companies public and provide new capabilities."

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