André Kuipers: world ambassador

ESA astronaut André Kuipers in Cupola
André Kuipers

15 May 2012
Observing Earth from far above, ESA astronaut André Kuipers is acting as a world ambassador for the WWF, which issued its flagship publication the Living Planet Report today.
The Living Planet Report measures changes in biodiversity by tracking 9000 populations of more than 2600 of the world’s species. André wrote the foreword to the report and is doing his part to show how fragile our world really is.



Jet contrails pictured from the Space Station
Aircraft trails

We only have one Earth
André has been concerned about our planet since his last mission to the International Space Station in 2004. He has been sending us images that show the impact humans are having on our climate.

“We only have one Earth. From up here I can see humanity’s footprint, including forest fires, air pollution and erosion – challenges which are reflected in this edition of the Living Planet Report,” said André.

The report illustrates how our demand on natural resources has become unsustainable. By 2050, two out of every three people will live in a city. Humanity requires new and improved ways of managing natural resources.


Night lights
Night lights in Europe as seen from satellites

André’s Flickr stream: recording humanity’s presence
Using ESA’s new NightPod camera aid, André is taking sharper pictures than ever before of cities at night. Light pollution is a dramatic example of energy that humans waste.

View all of André’s images in his Flickr photo stream, or follow the astronaut on Twitter. View the links to the right.

Satellites spot invisible effects
The effect we have on our planet extends beyond what is visible to the human eye. To be able to understand and manage human impact better, ESA is providing data from a range of satellites.

Sea-surface temperature, May 2008

Satellites offer the only practical means of monitoring Earth as a whole. Sensitive spaceborne instruments gather precise data to unravel the complexities of our planet and track changes taking place. They have contributed significantly to the information in the Living Planet Report.

Apart from benefitting European research requirements, this also ensures that decision-makers are equipped with the information to tackle the challenges of climate change, secure a sustainable future and respond to natural and human-induced disasters.


 •  WWF Living Planet Report 15 May 2012 (

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