Landsat Science Archive


A Landsat thermal image with banding
Oct 31, 2014 Landsat Ghostbusters—How the Landsat Calibration Team Caught a Ghost

Shortly after the launch of Landsat 8, the calibration team noticed something strange: bright and dark stripes, or “banding” was showing up across certain images collected by the satellite’s Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS). Prelaunch testing of [...]

L8 image of Juneau, Alaska
Oct 30, 2014 Over 20 Million Landsat Scenes Downloaded

[Source: USGS Landsat] Since 2008, all Landsat data—archived and newly acquired—have been available for free download. On September 16, 2014, users worldwide downloaded over 14,000 scenes from the servers at the USGS Earth Resources Observation [...]

One-millionth MSS image
Oct 23, 2014 Looking Back—The Millionth MSS Image

From the archives: “This Landsat (MSS) image, acquired by Landsat 2 on May 27, 1981 (WRS-1 Path 186 Row 26), marks the one-millionth MSS image acquired by the Landsat satellites. The image covers a 115×115-mile (185×185-km) area [...]

UNC paleontologists in the field
Oct 22, 2014 Dinosaur GPS

[by Frank Graff, UNC-TV] Dr. Robert Anemone is the head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. But he works out of a pretty standard office. The administrative assistant greets you in the outer [...]

saturation event
Oct 14, 2014 Keeping Cal

The Landsat calibration team published a number of papers in the SPIE Conference Volume 9218: Earth Observing Systems XIX. Our calibration team (or cal team) is a group of scientists and engineers who work together to ensure the scientific [...]

L8 pixel size comparison
Oct 8, 2014 Know your Landsat: Understanding and Accessing Landsat Data

Interested in Landsat data discovery and access? Landsat satellites have been observing Earth’s land surfaces consistently for over 40 years, providing the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. All Landsat [...]

Ceccato in Tanzania
Oct 1, 2014 Field Notes: Climate, Health and the Maasai

[by: Pietro Ceccato, International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University’s Earth Institute] Earlier this year, I attended a workshop in Arusha, Tanzania to train research scientists from South Africa, Ivory Coast, [...]

Phytoplankton bloom of the coast of Alaska
Sep 29, 2014 ‘Climate Dance’ of Plankton

[By Kasha Patel, NASA Goddard] The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants important [...]

abandoned farm in Montana
Sep 26, 2014 Modeling a Changing American Landscape

[By Jon Campbell, USGS] Land change is a signature activity of human civilization. Since the dawn of history, people have purposefully converted natural landscapes to human-dominated areas. Typical motivations for land change are cultivation [...]

20 Million and Counting
Sep 19, 2014 20 Million and Counting

The USGS Landsat project reported on twitter today that Landsat data downloads have hit the 20 million marker this week: via @USGSLandsat “Free and open data: #Landsat reached 20 MILLION product downloads this week!! @USGSLandsat [...]

Mirror set-up
Sep 4, 2014 A Big Eye in the Mojave Desert

In 1980, artist Tom Van Sant created the world’s largest manmade image with the help of Landsat 3. Van Sant ‘s creation, commissioned by the Los Angeles Bicentennial Commission, used a series of precisely placed mirrors in the Mojave Desert [...]

Landsat coverage density
Sep 3, 2014 A Call for Open Access Earth Observations

This month in Nature, an emphatic plea to make more Earth satellite imagery free was made by Michael Wulder, a senior research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service and Landsat Science Team member; along with Nicholas Coops, a remote [...]

Ivanpah Valley
Aug 28, 2014 Sun Seekers Unite in Ivanpah Playa

On public land in the Ivanpah Valley near the California/Nevada border, the world’s largest concentrated solar thermal plant sprawls across the desert landscape. Just on the other side of Interstate 15 (the long straight diagonal line) is [...]

Landsat 2014 Agency Awardees
Aug 26, 2014 Landsat 8 Workforce Garners 2014 Agency Awards

Much like a symphony, where music is best created when each orchestra member flawlessly executes his or her part, building and launching a scientific satellite takes the expertise, talent, and dedication of a large workforce working to the [...]

Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach
Aug 22, 2014 Taking Landsat 8 to the Beach

[By Kate Ramsayer, with Michael Carlowicz] Some things go perfectly with a summer trip to the coast: sunscreen, mystery novels, cold beverages, and sand castles. Other things—like algae blooms or polluted runoff—are a lot less appealing. The [...]

The Great Salt Lake shrank between 1985 and 2010
Aug 21, 2014 Landsat and Water: Using Space to Advance Resource Solutions

[By Jon Campbell, USGS] A recent White House-led assessment found that Landsat is among the Nation’s most critical Earth observing systems, second only to GPS and weather. A new USGS study, Landsat and Water — Case Studies of the Uses and [...]

cattle grazing
Aug 20, 2014 Monitoring Natural Resources on Native American Reservations

During a visit with Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe leaders of Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation today, Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued a Secretarial order reaffirming the land trust responsibilities of the [...]

NASA's Distinguished Service Medal
Aug 14, 2014 NASA’s Landsat 8 Project Scientist Awarded Agency’s Distinguished Service Medal

This afternoon, Dr. Jim Irons, the NASA Landsat 8 Project Scientist, was awarded NASA’s most prestigious honor—the Distinguished Service Medal—for his leadership and guidance on the Landsat program and Landsat 8 mission. Irons was among a small [...]

Lake Michigan phosphorus and turbidity predictions
Aug 7, 2014 Landsat Aids Forest Service Research

[Source: Forest Service, Northern Research Station] Research highlights of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service—Northern Research Center feature two projects that relied on Landsat data. Ensuring the health and [...]

Giant kelp
Jul 31, 2014 Tracking Giant Kelp From Space

[By: Julie Cohen, UC Santa Barbara] Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won’t have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists at [...]



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