NASA Launches Earth-Monitoring Landsat 9 Satellite

NASA has launched on Monday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California the latest in a series of U.S. satellites that will record human and natural impacts on Earth’s surface.

Landsat 9, an Earth-monitoring satellite, is the continuation of a series of recording global imagery of the planet that started almost 50 years ago.

“Since 1972, we’ve taken over 9 million multi-spectral images of Earth’s land and coastal regions. Using this record, we can really document and understand the changes that have occurred to land environment, both from human activities as well as natural events,” said Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Landsat 9, a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, will work in tandem with a predecessor, Landsat 8, and will replace the aging and less powerful satellite, Landsat 7.

Landsat 9 features an imaging sensor that will record visible and other portions of the spectrum, as well as a thermal sensor to measure surface temperatures. It will play a key role in monitoring agriculture, measuring water consumption by crops, and the transfer of water to the atmosphere, as well as monitoring glacial ice, which is a critical factor in understanding the rise of sea level.

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