Ciao Italia!

The European heartland from Proba-2.  Click for larger.  Image: ESA

The European heartland from Proba-2. Click for larger. Image: ESA

A view of central and northern Italy, the Alps and a good bit of Europe from Proba-2’s X-cam.

Proba-2 is of course one of those wonderful mini-satellites. The X-cam is as ESA describes it appropriately, the size of an espresso cup and is but one of 17 experimental technologies packed into the little satellite barely a cubic meter in size, if that.

The future is bright for the small imagers too. The Swiss manufacturer of this one, Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration, also has one on the Rosetta lander which will (if all goes well) will take close views of the surface of a comet in 2014. The company also has cameras on the ESA Sentinel-1 Earth observation mission to launch later this year.

Check out the ESA site for more details and a larger version of the image.