The Earth and Space Sphere, erected as part of the EU's Earth and Space week, was officially inaugurated and illuminated in Brussels on 9 February by Janez Potocnik, Commissioner for Science and Research. Mr Potocnik said that Earth and Space Week, taking place from 12 to 20 February, would highlight both the beauty and fragility of planet Earth. He also noted the appropriate timing of the week, coming, as it does, as the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) start work on the development of a European space policy. The EU is involved in space because of its practical implications for human life, explained the Commissioner. He highlighted the invaluable role of space in the recent tsunami relief efforts around the Indian Ocean, and the ensuing reconstruction work. Mr Potocnik underlined that successful Earth observation technology required major international collaboration. This point was echoed by Michel Praet, head of the ESA cabinet in Brussels, who called on his own organisation and the EU to 'to continue together to build up further success stories and to make the right choices for Europe.' Earth and Space Week will involve a visit from European astronauts, an Earth observation summit, an international conference on cooperation in space, and an exhibition on Earth and space. Full coverage will be provided throughout the week by CORDIS News.