The contributions of space-based technologies and applications to protecting natural ecosystems and biodiversity treatened by climate change, population expansion, desertification and increased levels of wildlife violation are crucial to addressing these global challenges.


Out of 50 so-called Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) that scientists use to monitor the climate, such as ocean levels, salinity and aerosols, 26 of which can only be adequately assessed from Space.

Many space technology instruments exist to assist the monitoring and analysis of ecosystems and to evaluate or study biodiversity and wildlife. Earth Observations and satellite navigation, but also satellite telecommunications are being used in various projects around the globe.

Remote sensing grants a unique view of the Earth for studies that require large geographical coverage and/or periodical observations such as inventory, surveying, agriculture, hydrology, geology, mountain ecological studies, mineralogy, land cover, and land use. Assessments of ecosystem destruction is performed to track progress towards conservation targets, to monitoring deforestation, and to identifying ecosystems experiencing rapid change.

The analysis and visualisation of space-derived information offer substantial input into decision-making processes throughout the world and can become even more critical in actions developed towards achieving international sustainable development goals.

Space is also vital for emerging green technologies. Both smart mobility, such as ride-sharing systems and other traffic reducing technologies, and more intelligent energy efficiency systems rely on connectivity made possible by satellite communication. The former is only possible with Internet of Things (IoT), which is built on improved satellite communications. Smart mobility, meaning the capability of accurately tracking a vehicle to optimise routes, will depend and be built on a successful geopositioning system, namely the European global navigation system, Galileo, and its increased reliability, accuracy and precision.

Portugal is particularly committed to the environmental agenda, with a focus on oceans and maritime ecosystems.  Annually, the relation between oceans and Space is the subject of the New Space Atlantic Summit, a conference which boosts the exchange between national and international experts in these fields.

Also addressing the topic of Oceans sustainability, Portugal is promoting AI Moonshot Challenge, aiming to find solutions to tackle the identification and monitoring of plastic waste in the ocean by bringing together satellite data and advanced AI analysis methods. The ultimate aspiration is to contribute to the cleaning of the oceans using space data and satellite-based sensors.