Minister of the Environment visited Tartu Observatory

Tiia Lillemaa | 3.02.2015

On February 3rd, 2015 Minister of the Environment Mati Raidma met the researchers of the Tartu Observatory to get to know how the scientific work is contributing to the sustainable development of the Estonian economy.

The Minister of the Environment met the researchers for better understanding of their work for the benefits of the society. Head of the department of space technology Mart Noorma introduced the research fields of the observatory. Senior research fellow Urmas Peterson provided an overview about the participation of the researchers in the Estonian environment monitoring programmes. The Estonian representative in the Copernicus programme, research fellow Kaupo Voormansik introduced the possibilities for usage of the satellite data, and the role of the state in coordination of these activities.

Senior research fellow Joel Kuusk pointed out the pioneering experiences of the researchers of Tartu Observatory in the field of remote sensing of vegetation. He confirmed that satellite images are documents, that fix the current situation, but the interpretation of these images is in many cases based on the knowledge about radiative transfer in vegetation. It is impossible to work out the applications without that basic knowledge.

The project manager of Tartu Observatory Visitor Centre Heli Lätt gave an overview about the innovative active learning programmes for pupils that help them to understand the need for knowledge and interrelations between subjects of natural sciences taught in the school programme. Head of the Laboratories Riho Vendt and leading engineer Viljo Allik introduced the opportunities of our modern laboratories for cooperation between enterprises and other research institutes to the minister.

Ministri hinnangul on täna riigi- ja teadusasutustel oluline üle rääkida poolte vajaduste ning panustamise võimalused kaugseire ning kosmose valdkonnas, kus oma koht on nii baasteadmistel, uuringutel kui ka rakendustel.

“It’s quite a big challenge to find common language between academic community and public authorities to be able to understand each other while searching innovative solutions to the problems faced by the society,” said minister. “I am on the opinion that our cooperation can be more effective through widening the scientific worldview among public servants. Specific knowledge about satellite data, Earth Observation and space technology can help them better understand the opportunities and benefits for the development of the Estonian economy. The Minister developed the cooperation idea further - the research institutes can support the country in that area. The meeting continued with the discussion about cooperation activities.

Tartu Observatory is a public research and development authority, administered by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. The mission of Tartu Observatory as a space research centre is to realize an excellence in the space science in the interests of the development of Estonia.

The main area of activity of Tartu Observatory is the research and development in the fields of astronomy, remote sensing, and space technology. Here meet the high competence of internationally recognized senior researchers with splendid enthusiasm of young scientists to find solutions for new challenging research questions.