Landsat at 40
Happy birthday, Landsat. Forty years ago today, this Earth-observing program was kicked off when the first Landsat satellite was launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base. Over the last decades, seven satellites have taken images of and collected data about urban growth, climate change, and natural disasters. NASA picked it's Top Ten Landsat images and featured them today. The one above has always been one of Landsat's most striking images. This composite image from two cloud-free days in 1986 and 1988 shows how clear-cutting in Mexico was so rampant that it made the political border with Guatemala, and its untouched forests, visible from space. According to NASA, it "started a discussion of conservation between the presidents of Guatemala and Mexico that led to cooperative planning of parks in both countries." Although the border is still visible, the dramatic change when the 1986-1988 image is compared to this one from 2009-2011 shows how valuable these Earth-imaging satellites can be.
NASA's Earth Observatory