Spying on Volcanoes
Some of the most interesting space images are those of our very own planet -- just browse through the Earth Observatory collection. The oldest satellites in that suite is Terra, launched in 1999 to study Earth's air, land, oceans, and radiant heat, so that scientists can grasp a better understanding of how the climate is changing. The image above is a composite of two Terra images of the Plosky Tolbachik volcano in Russia's far east. The first was taken in July and shows the vegetation in red, older lava flows in gray, and snow in white. The second was taken in early December, about a week after Plosky Tolbachik erupted on November 27, destroying nearby scientific camps and causing local evacuations. This image shows the new, hot lava in yellow.
Image: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team