iKNOW ERA Toolkit

Applications of Wild Cards and Weak Signals to the Grand Challenges & Thematic Priorities of the European Research Area

Funded by Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities 


Display Wild Cards & Weak Signals

The Space theme has a total budget of € 1.4 billion. The aim of the Space research under FP7 is to support a European Space Programme focusing on applications such as "Global monitoring for environment and security" (GMES) with benefits for citizens and for the competitiveness of the European space industry.  Emphasis is given to the following areas:

1. Space-based applications serving European society

  • developing satellite observation systems and the GMES services for the management of the environment, security, agriculture, forestry and meteorology, civil protection and risk management;

2. Exploration of space

  • provision of support for collaborative initiatives between ESA or national space agencies, as well as coordinating efforts for the development of space-borne telescopes;

3. Strengthening Space foundations

  • support research for long term needs such as space transportation, bio-medicine, life and physical sciences in space.

Emerging themes and issues

Even if we will not be venturing far, or en masse, into the final frontier for many years to come, space is a highly important area for technology development – and it is well known that many existing infrastructures, including global communications, weather forecasting and navigation systems are dependent on satellites.  Some of the wildest cards we could consider – discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, serious threats of asteroid/comet impacts, large-scale solar flares, etc. – are connected with space science and technology (which may give us warnings and in some cases tools for addressing problems) .  But even without such developments, there are many uncertainties on this frontier, not least those associated with geopolitics – who occupies space, who accesses resources, how do we govern threats of militarisation (or nonmilitarised conflict) and of off-planet activities that may affect the global environment? 

Click on the Display Wild Cards / Weak Signals button above to see selected issues associated to this theme.