The Landsat Program

This joint NASA/USGS program provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Every day, Landsat satellites provide essential information to help land managers and policy makers make wise decisions about our resources and our environment. + Landsat Case Studies ebook

Virginia Norwood, 1963
Virginia T. Norwood: The Mother of Landsat
We have Virginia Norwood to thank for the design and engineering that made the Landsat program a success
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Cousteau and his team during the experiment

Chasing Satellites with Jacques Cousteau

In August 1975, Jacques Cousteau and his divers helped determine if Landsat could measure the depth of shallow ocean waters.[]

Getting a Bird’s-Eye View of Biodiversity with Landsat

This bird’s-eye view of the relationship between temperature and bird biodiversity will help conservationists figure out where to prioritize []

Explore Landsat at Home

Have fun learning about Landsat with these hands-on activities and explore the various benefits the Landsat series of satellites have brought to society since 1972.

Landsat 8 sketch

“The community was very vocal regarding the value of a free and open data policy.”

“We use Landsat images on a daily basis at SkyTruth for environmental monitoring.”

“I don’t think there’s any question about how important and how valuable MSS is.”

“Even though I have a book coming out about the Moon Landing, I’ll say it: Landsat is likely the greatest, most impactful, yet under-appreciated, accomplishment of the entire space age.”

“In many cases the Landsat archive has provided the only consistent source of information to monitor changes in the surface of the Earth.”

“Landsat is an invaluable tool for people working in our field of community wildfire safety.”

“With the full Landsat record available, we can finally look at really big problems, like the global carbon cycle.”

“We started with all of the Landsat images from the beginning of the [30-meter resolution era of the] Landsat program, so we could go back to 1984 and show how the surface of the planet had changed. It shows the changes in cities, the birth of cities. It shows flooding. It shows things like deforestation. It shows the incredible expansion of agriculture. There’s just so many things you get from that data set.”

“Landsat makes it possible to compare images over almost 5 decades and makes the role of climate change unmistakable in this incredibly beautiful mountainous part of Alaska.”

“It is a game changer for people who want to know the impact of a management action on particular piece of land, or how a dam affected the downstream area.”

“Landsat is key to a wide range of applications that support global glacier monitoring and elucidate the impacts of global climate change.”