Satellites for remote sensing of the Earth have been in orbit for nearly 25 years and are now an important tool for the geosciences and innumerable practical applications. Just like new and improved astronomical instruments enabled man, at the turn of the 16th to the 17th century, to acquire a new vision of the Universe, the view of the Earth from space has profoundly influenced today's perception of our Home Planet. Earth observation is now being used routinely for solving important practical problems. It is one of the main objectives of the Sea and Space programme to contribute to the enrichment of school curricula by putting observations of the Earth from Space at the reach of teachers and pupils and to demonstrate their great utility.
This Sea and Space sub-programme will in the first instance use data from ESA's European Remote Sensing Satellites, ERS-1 and ERS-2, and from the Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer AVHRR onboard the NOAA satellite. For the first time in Europe, an educational project is not mainly driven by archived data but new data acquisitions will be specially programmed for the project. These data will be made available, together with appropriate image processing software, to allow the participants to compare their actual ground observations with the view provided by satellites from Space. The value of archived data will at the same time be highlighted and project participants encouraged to make extensive use of them.