Mapping our changing oceans

The Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite has been systematically measuring our oceans, land, ice and atmosphere since its launch in February 2016. The satellite will soon be joined in orbit by its identical twin, Sentinel-3B. Once in orbit, both satellites will provide global coverage every two days.

For over two years, Sentinel-3A has been gathering data on land cover vegetation health and the oceans. Its unique information is already feeding a range of practical applications.It is used for monitoring and understanding large-scale global dynamics such as marine pollution, sea level changes, and aquatic biological productivity.

“Sentinel-3 and land-surface radiometer are providing us with the best sea temperatures in the world, and these are helping us to understand coral bleaching. Together with the satellite’s ultra-instrument, we can look at the ocean color and how the marine productivity is responding to changes in the climate,” says Craig Donlon, Sentinel-3 mission scientist.

Overland, Sentinel-3 also has excellent potential. The mission monitors wildfires, maps the way land is used, provides indices of vegetation state, and measures the height of rivers and lakes – complementing the high-resolution measurements of its sister mission Sentinel-2.

Soon, these services will be further enhanced with the launch of the Sentinel-3B satellite, expected for the end of April.


The future of humanity relies on space exploration. Conquering the next barrier not only is full of expectations for the advancement of science, but also is also highly regarded as a journey that will bring humankind together. But where will we go (and where we will not) by 2030? For the 24 edition of OPENSPACE, we met the experts who can answer the question, “What does the future of space exploration really hold?”