Astronauts have long described the profound experience of seeing Earth from orbit. Against the vastness of space, the beauty of our home planet is clearer than ever – but so is the need to protect it.

From fires in the Amazon and Hurricane Dorian to disappearing atolls and shrinking sea ice, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano on board the International Space Station has captured evidence of Earth’s fragility and our impact as humans. This week, he will share that view once again with world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25 in Madrid, Spain as they take the next crucial steps for our planet.

Below is a selection of photographs from Luca’s current Beyond mission and his first mission Volare in 2013. Tune into NASA TV or the UN COP 25 webstream from 16:05 CET Wednesday 11 December to watch the live call. Today is the #TimeForAction. 


Rocks, snow, glaciers and deep blue waters in the Coast Mountains range, Canada. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Volare).

Venice and the Laguna. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Volare).

Mount Etna. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Volare).

Did you know Europe also has one of the world’s largest Earth observation programmes? ESA satellites provide unprecedented information on the retreat of glaciers, sea level rise, the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and deforestation worldwide.

Find out more about Earth observation on the ESA website and follow Luca on Twitter and Facebook for the latest images from his Beyond mission.

Flooding of the White Nile in Sudan. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Beyond).

Monsoon storms. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Beyond).

Hunting for Dorian. ESA/NASA-L.Parmitano (Beyond).