European Space Agency-Education Payload Operations-Earth Guardian (ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian) - 01.04.17

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ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The European Space Agency-Education Payload Operations-Earth Guardian (ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian) activity aims at introducing concepts of environmental observation, realization of increasing problems, and the prospects of protecting the environment. ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian is a cooperative endeavour between the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), German schools, German universities, and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Human Spaceflight Directorate Education Team. The inflight experiment has a very strong connection with the ground activities during the mission.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Franziska Zeitler, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Franziska Zeitler, DLR - Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt Space Administration, Bonn, Germany

Claudia Philpot, DLR German Aerospace Centre, Germany
Nigel D. Savage, ESTEC HSO-K, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Elisabeth Celton, ESTEC HSO-K, Noordwijk, Netherlands

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany
European Space Agency, Education Office, Noordwijk, Netherlands

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

In the European Space Agency-Education Payload Operations-Earth Guardian (ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian) activity, the astronaut serves as an ambassador in space and sends messages to the students encouraging them to participate and complete their individual environmental protection projects. The astronaut shares his/her terrestrial experiences with the students, who can associate their own experiences with the astronauts. Then the astronaut reports from the International Space Station (ISS), and explains how the view changes and what conclusions can be drawn.
The on-orbit crew member answers four key questions for each of five topics while recording a self video. The topics include oceans/water, land/ground, rivers/water, mountains, and forests. The recording takes place in the Cupola (preferred). The video footage is edited on the ground, and is completed with videos of terrestrial events and pictures. The videos are published on the Earth Guardian Website. Students use these videos to work in project groups.
The general objectives of the study are:
  • Raising awareness with respect to current and future way of looking at a potential problem to protect Earth.
  • Educating youth/students at an early age about causes, consequences and options for actions for climate change and environmental protection.
  • Encouraging own ideas and development of first concepts.
  • Initiating change in behavior towards climate change (as contribution to more sustainable utilization of our environment and society).
The educational objectives are:
  • Utilization of material on ISS/Gerst (pictures, videos, LiveCalls) for use in schools.
  • Project work in teams with respect to different aspects of the subject.
  • Practicing of independent and creative working, separate and in groups.
  • Development of new ideas and recommendations a part of the project work.
  • Learning by doing with practical and real examples, additionally implementing materials provided from the space station.
  • Shaping awareness development and importance of attitudes and values.
  • Competition with prizes for the best projects.


Students develop their own ideas regarding Earth protection (Earth and Environment protection) within their project frame.
Teams are formed (preferred) of up to 7 students, but also single ideas are welcome. The project work is part of the following topics at school: local studies, geography, and/or biology. The European Space Agency-Education Payload Operations-EPO-Earth Guardian (ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian) project starts in September 2014, and ends in mid-December 2014. The competition announcement occurs in March 2014.
There are different categories of the subject “Protecting Earth” to keep the work manageable and operational. The project contains the following elements/categories: oceans/water, land/ground, rivers/water, mountains, and forests.
The geographical location of the schools/participating teams might be significant while choosing the topics (e.g. Bavaria--mountains, Schleswig-Holstein—ocean). This creates a local reference to the school syllabus. Schools make this decision.

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Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
Information Pending

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Operational Requirements and Protocols

Alexander Gerst, or the backup crew member Samantha Cristoforetti, shall observe the Earth from the ISS. Sometimes it takes a little distance to see the changes, and become aware of potential hazards. Therefore, the mission and the observations from orbit shall trigger interest and support the school lessons. A competition begins before the launch to start collecting various ideas in various forms on how to preserve, or protect, Earth´s environment. The aim is for the crew member to support school lessons by comparing pictures of the environment from the ground before launch, and observing and reporting on pictures taken from space. Each aspect to be addressed is introduced by 5 videos (reports). Accompanying scripts give a good guideline for the crew member. Before return to Earth, a dedicated communications session is required in order to motivate and remind the participants of the competition, the upcoming deadline, and to increase general and political support of human spaceflight on a national level.
There is one session foreseen only. The session comprises of 5 video messages, with each video content is approximately 3 minutes. For these videos no live downlink is required.
For the recording of all video footage the high definition on board video camera, memory cards, microphone, and additional lighting is used.
To support all video activities, scripts are developed by DLR and ESA/HSO-K both in English and in German. These contain a detailed description of the important shots to be filmed.
The explanations related to each theme shall be presented by the crew in front of a video camera in German.
The 5 messages can be recorded in the same session. The editing into the 5 independent videos is performed on ground (by DLR). The crew shall address the following topics:
  1. Oceans/water
  2. Land/ground
  3. Rivers/water
  4. Mountains 
  5. Forests.
The video recordings take place in the Cupola (back-up location: Columbus module).

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
ESA-EPO-Earth Guardian from ESA's Erasmus Experiment Archive

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