The space surrounding our planet is full of opportunities and resources. Ranging from a hundred to a few thousand kilometers around Earth, our space-neighborhood offers an excellent vantage point to the universe, and a great opportunity to push the frontiers of science and knowledge. Manned missions advance research on human biology, health, and li
Table of Contents
Introduction. Setting the scene. Characteristics of our space environment (Near-vacuum - Zero-g or microgravity - Other features of the Earth gravity environment - Radiation balance - Radiation and particle flux from the Sun and the Galaxy - The Earth's magnetosphere). Utilization of our space environment for practical purposes, science and exploration. Rewards and Power of Space. Unweiling the mysteries of cosmic lights (Incredible Solar System - What has space taught us? The mysteries of darkness - Plurality of worlds and universality of life). Observing Earth's skeleton and skin, surveying its health, monitoring its aging (Observing tools - Forecasting, facing, and managing Earth - First steps toward a global space governance for Earth monitoring). Influence of outer space on the Earth. The Sun (Living 8 light-minutes away from a cosmic nuclear furnace - The magnetic active star - Sun's influence on Earth: the Carrington even - Space Weather)- 3.2 Weather and Climate (The four step dance of planet Earth - Sunlight influence on climatic modulations - The Sun and the atmosphere: a vital interaction - The influence of volcanic and solar activities- Future natural climate influence). Asteroids and Comets, (The Near Earth Object Impact Hazard - Observation, Detection, and Impact Prediction- Preventing an Impact - Way forward?). Impact of human activity on the near space environment. Space Debris (What is space debris? - What do we know, how much space debris is there? - Why is space debris a problem? - What are the immediate countermeasures? - Where does the data come from? - Protecting the space environment - an international endeavor - Predicting the future - Long-term sustainability of outer space activities - International policies and requirements). Opportunities and limits for actors. Int
Claude Nicollier is a professor in aerospace engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL). He graduated from the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva, and also as a Swiss Air Force pilot, an airline pilot and a test pilot. He was assigned as a mission specialist on four Space Shuttle flights, including the first and the third missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope on orbit. He has spent more than 1,000 hours in space, and on his last mission in December 1999, performed a spacewalk to install new equipment on the orbiting observatory.
Volker Gass is Director of the Swiss Space Center, EPFL, since 2011 and adjunct professor at EPFL School of Engineering. He previously worked at RUAG Space Switzerland. He received his master's degree in microtechnology from EPFL in 1988 and his PhD from University of Neuchatel in 1994. Through the Swiss Space Center, he promotes and develops space activities by involving Swiss education, science, and industries.