Launched in September, the Landsat 9 satellite beamed back its first collection of photos on October 31st.
Aimed at monitoring the Earth’s surface as well as any changes it undergoes, the satellite will hopefully help people become better stewards of the planet, at least that’s what NASA hopes.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson writes on the agency’s blog:
“Landsat 9’s first images capture critical observations about our changing planet and will advance this joint mission of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey that provides critical data about Earth's landscapes and coastlines seen from space. This program has the proven power to not only improve lives but also save lives. NASA will continue to work with USGS to strengthen and improve accessibility to Landsat data so decision makers in America – and around the world – better understand the devastation of the climate crisis, manage agricultural practices, preserve precious resources and respond more effectively to natural disasters.”
The first collection shows images from Detroit, Michigan, Florida, and Arizona. They also include photographs from Australia’s northern shorelines as well as the Himalayas.
Landsat 9 is an upgrade over the 2013 Landsat 8 which is still in operation. A few of those upgrades include higher radiometric resolution of images that can detect the differences between 16,000 different shades of a wavelength color. In this regard, NASA compares the Landsat 9 with the 7 that could only distinguish between 256 different shades of a given wavelength. The Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) “detects visible, near-infrared and shortwave-infrared light in nine wavelengths” while the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) can measure thermal radiation in two wavelengths, giving scientists some idea about temperature fluctuations on the surface, NASA writes.
You can check out NASA’s collection of photos at this link here. We’d love to know what you think of them. You can leave your thoughts on Landsat 9’s first collection of photos in the comments below.
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