Thursday, October 28, 2021

Earth observation from space with new satellite technology

Landsat 9 is the latest in a series of satellites sent into orbit since 1972. It is a joint monitoring program conducted by the US space agency NASA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Landsat satellites work by collecting light, the intensity of which gives information about what is on the ground. Landsat 9 will be able to see a total of 16,384 different colors of light than ever before. According to agencies, we will be able to see more in deeper places like coastal waters and forests.

The scientist leading the project is Dr. Jeff Masek of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

He says: “We can keep track of things that are changing very rapidly on the ground. I think one area, in particular, that is going to see improvement is looking at water quality. For example, harmful algal blooms are a big issue in the US and around the world, with better data quality from Landsat imagery and getting it every eight days, we are able to detect those algal blooms early and watch their development. are going to happen. Much better than before. Similarly, better image quality is going to help with darker vegetation. So we’re also going to learn more about pigments in forests and crops.”

This could be important for areas such as Bandar al-Jissa in Oman. The waves that wash up here are bright green – scientists claim this phenomenon is caused by our warming planet. This is Noctiluca scintillons, one of the largest and oldest life forms in the world.

Swarms of microscopic organisms beneath the surface of the Gulf of Oman were invisible 30 years ago, but now form giant, blurry figures that can be seen from satellites. They wash over the long coast of Oman in autumn and again in winter.

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Along with industrial pollution, Earth’s trapped heat from carbon emissions is destabilizing marine ecosystems, leading to larger, more frequent, and more harmful algae blooms globally.

Images provided by satellites in the decades that followed have allowed scientists an ongoing monitoring system, an ongoing archive of how the Earth is changing. The program has provided the longest space-based record of Earth in existence.

The technology of satellites has improved with each generation.

Masek says: “If you look at the history of the program over the past 50 years, we certainly need more imagery now than at the start of the mission or the star of the program or others. But the last about 10 to 15 years From, we are getting the whole earth at all times.”

Landsat 9 and other existing satellites Landsat 8 take eight days to image the entire Earth, both land and coastal areas.

NASA says they will be able to provide real-time data of everything that happens on Earth’s surface.

“We’ve put together a collection of over nine million images. So really, the unique thing about Landsat is its longevity and ability to see long-term changes in the land environment. Landsat nine in particular. That’s roughly a second of Landsat eight. There is a direct copy, but it has some technical improvements that are supposed to improve the image quality that falls below it.”

It provides researchers with valuable insights about environmental developments, such as the loss of Amazon habitats, declining water quality, or the increasing urbanization of our world.

Landsat 9 is to be launched into orbit on September 27, 2021 from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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