Landsat 9: NASA, USGS Release First Light Images of Earth Capture by Satellite

Joint mission between NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS), Landsat 9, launched on September 27, has collected its first gentle pictures of Earth.

In keeping with a press launch by NASA, all the pictures, acquired on October 31 present a preview of how the mission will assist folks handle very important pure sources and perceive the impacts of local weather change, including to Landsat’s unparalleled knowledge document that spans practically 50 years of space-based Earth remark.

“Landsat 9’s first pictures seize essential observations about our altering planet and can advance this joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey that gives essential knowledge about Earth’s landscapes and coastlines seen from area. This programme has the confirmed energy to not solely enhance lives but in addition save lives. NASA will proceed to work with USGS to strengthen and enhance accessibility to Landsat knowledge so decision-makers in America – and world wide – higher perceive the devastation of the local weather disaster, handle agricultural practices, protect treasured sources and reply extra successfully to pure disasters,” stated NASA Administrator Invoice Nelson.


These first gentle pictures present Detroit, Michigan, with neighbouring Lake St. Clair, the intersection of cities and seashores alongside a altering Florida shoreline and pictures from Navajo Nation in Arizona that can add to the wealth of information serving to us monitor crop well being and handle irrigation water. The brand new pictures additionally supplied knowledge concerning the altering landscapes of the Himalayas in Excessive Mountain Asia and the coastal islands and shorelines of Northern Australia, stated the press launch.

Landsat 9 is comparable in design to its predecessor, Landsat 8, which was launched in 2013 and stays in orbit, however options a number of enhancements. The brand new satellite tv for pc transmits knowledge with greater radiometric decision again right down to Earth, permitting it to detect extra refined variations, particularly over darker areas like water or dense forests. For instance, Landsat 9 can differentiate greater than 16,000 shades of a given wavelength color; Landsat 7, the satellite tv for pc being changed, detects solely 256 shades. This elevated sensitivity will enable Landsat customers to see rather more refined modifications than ever earlier than.

“First gentle is a giant milestone for Landsat customers – it is the primary likelihood to actually see the sort of high quality that Landsat 9 supplies. And so they look incredible. When now we have Landsat 9 working in coordination with Landsat 8, it may be this wealth of information, permitting us to observe modifications to our house planet each eight days,” stated Jeff Masek NASA’s Landsat 9 undertaking scientist at Goddard House Flight Middle.

The discharge knowledgeable that Landsat 9 carries two devices that seize imagery: the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2), which detects seen, near-infrared and shortwave-infrared gentle in 9 wavelengths, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2), which detects thermal radiation in two wavelengths to measure Earth’s floor temperatures and its modifications. These devices will present Landsat 9 customers with important details about crop well being, irrigation use, water high quality, wildfire severity, deforestation, glacial retreat, city enlargement, and extra.

“The information and pictures from Landsat 9 are increasing {our capability} to see how Earth has modified over a long time. In a altering local weather, steady and free entry to Landsat knowledge, and the opposite knowledge in NASA’s Earth-observing fleet, assist knowledge customers, together with metropolis planners, farmers and scientists, plan for the long run,” stated Karen St. Germain, Earth Science Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

NASA’s Landsat 9 group is conducting a 100-day check-out interval that includes testing the satellite tv for pc’s programs and subsystems and calibrating its devices in preparation for handing the mission over to USGS in January. USGS will function Landsat 9 together with Landsat 8, and collectively the 2 satellites will accumulate roughly 1,500 pictures of Earth’s floor day-after-day, overlaying the globe each eight days, in keeping with the discharge.

“The unbelievable first footage from the Landsat 9 satellite tv for pc are a glimpse into the info that can assist us make science-based choices on key points together with water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat and tropical deforestation. This historic second is the fruits of our lengthy partnership with NASA on Landsat 9’s growth, launch and preliminary operations, which is able to higher assist environmental sustainability, local weather change resiliency, and financial progress – all whereas increasing an unparalleled document of Earth’s altering landscapes,” stated USGS Performing Director Dr David Applegate.

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