LDCM), launched on Feb. 11, is the eighth satellite in a 1972 program originally begun by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). While still in its relative infancy, USGS maintains the longest continuous record of the global land surface as seen from space.Landsat data has become a crucial resource for long-term observations and analysis of changes in the Earth’s landscape. The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (
The accumulated data is enormously beneficial in terms of learning more about a variety of the Earth’s changing fortunes. For 40 years, both natural and man-made impacts have been monitored, differentiated and assessed. More specifically, according to NASA, landsat technology has already been used for understanding and ÛÏmanaging forests, farms, changes in urban landscapes, responding to wild fires, measuring the extent of flood and storm damage, examining wildlife habitat, measuring glacial retreat, and mapping the extent of the Antarctic ice sheet.
The LDCM project is the result of partnership and cooperation between NASA and USGS. NASA built and launched the satellite and spaceborne sensors, and USGS will assume overall operations of the satellite including data collection, archiving and distribution.
As time passes, the archived data collected through the LDCM project will become increasingly more valuable and useful in terms of understanding our world and the changes that have been experienced over the last four decades and beyond. Armed with long-term data on areas such as energy and water management, forestry, and agriculture, responding to major environmental changes will be possible in a more informed and holistic way.
Improved research tools and techniques – like acquisition geometry, calibration, coverage characteristics, spectral and spatial characteristics, output product quality, and increased data availability ÛÒ has enabled researchers to compare Landsat data on a month-to-month and year-to-year basis since the 1970s.
In this eighth mission, the LDCM satellite project consists of a spacecraft in low-Earth orbit, with two different sensors, one of which ÛÒ known as the Operational Land Imager (OLI) ÛÒ will be, according to NASA, used for collecting image data for ÛÏnine shortwave spectral bands over a 185 km swath with a 30 meter spatial resolution for all bands, except a 15 m panchromatic band.Û The other sensor – Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) – will collect image data for ÛÏtwo thermal bands with a 100 meter resolution over a 185 km swath.Û Daily commands will be sent to the observatory by the LDCM ground system, with the data sent to a number of ground receiving stations. Like all previous missions, the data collected by Landsat-8 will be made available to the public at no cost.
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