NASA and the Interior Department celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Landsat program, the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program. (Photo : NASA)
The world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Monday.
The anniversary of the Landsat program is being celebrated by NASA and the Interior Department, marking its launch on July 23, 1972.
Landsat has provided global coverage from space, providing images of human activity and towns. The purpose of the program, made by the US, is to provide "societal benefits" over a wide range environmental health, energy and water management, disaster recovery, agriculture, and urban planning.
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"Landsat has given us a critical perspective on our planet over the long term and will continue to help us understand the big picture of Earth and its changes from space," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "With this view we are better prepared to take action on the ground and be better stewards of our home."
"Over four decades, data from the Landsat series of satellites have become a vital reference worldwide for advancing our understanding of the science of the land," said Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. "The 40-year Landsat archive forms an indelible and objective register of America's natural heritage and thus it has become part of this department's legacy to the American people."
Satellites such as those in the Landsat program have provided scientists the opportunity to observe the world beyond the power of human eye..
"The first 40 years of the Landsat program have delivered the most consistent and reliable record of Earth's changing landscape," said NASA's Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate Michael Freilich.
NASA is scheduled to launch another Landsat satellite in February 2013, called Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). The new satellite, according to SpaceRef, will be the most technologically advanced satellite in the Landsat series.
According to NASA, LDCM will join fellow satellites Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 in orbit to continue producing "stunning" images of Earth's surface.
In a statement from NASA, "LDCM will measure Earth's surfaces in the visible, near-infrared, short wave infrared and thermal infrared, with a moderate-resolution of 15 to 100 meters, depending on spectral frequency."
LDCM is collaborated between NASA and the US Geological Survey. The new satellite will be renamed Landsat 8 after its launch.