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Lusa - Business News - EU/Presidency: Atlantic 'critical' for European space capabilities - minister

Brussels, Jan.12,2021(Lusa)-Portugal's minister for science, technology and higher education, Manuel Heitor, on Tuesday, identified the Atlantic as a "critical" area for the development of European space capabilities, namely as a "testing ground" for the observation of climate phenomena and communications.

Speaking to journalists during a press conference on the sidelines of the European Space Conference, Heitor stressed that the latest scientific reports show that "climate transitions depend particularly on interactions between the oceans and the climate" and stressed the need to make the Atlantic an area of "experimentation for interactions between new space systems, including Earth observations, but also communications".

"It is only through space that we can have awareness and the observation methods needed to enter into a new balance that we need to operate in the coming years, concerning carbon neutrality, but also the new balance between economic activity and the planet Earth," he said.

The Atlantic will have a privileged place, he said, because it will allow Europe to "expand into the blue world" and to work on the interaction between the climate and the ocean that "will be critical in the coming years, including the prevention of pandemics.

"If we want to prevent future pandemics, we need to understand better the underlying climate issues, starting with the interactions between the oceans and the climate. This is why our approach to the Atlantic is so important," he said.

The minister added that more needed to be done, notably by building a "constellation of microsatellites" in the Atlantic.

"Doing more means first of all developing a constellation of microsatellites in the Atlantic, initially consisting of eight to 16 microsatellites, which will provide high-resolution data for maritime surveillance and activities on land," the minister stressed.

In addition to the importance of these mechanisms for monitoring climate change, Manuel Heitor also said that they are essential for communications in "remote areas.

"When we look at what we can do in remote areas, such as areas of the ocean, we can only make secure communications if we look at the optics and, increasingly, quantum physics. (...) This can only be done through space systems", he stressed.

Manuel Heitor was speaking on the sidelines of the European Space Conference where, in the morning, he said that the "main objective" of the Portuguese presidency in space matters would be the creation of a "Citizen Oriented Space".

"Our main objective is the mobilisation of each actor - both institutional actors and the European business sector - in a European approach to space that is citizen-oriented. A new space for people", he said.

The European Space Conference - which started today and ends on Wednesday - brings together European leaders, ministers and business figures and has as its theme the "place of space in a changing world".



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-01-13 10:32:00


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