Quotes to Note

“The Landsat program has produced an unmatched record of observational coverage of Earth’s surface extending back to 1972, offering stunning satellite views of landscapes all over the world. This collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has also yielded more than five decades of scientific discoveries as Earth’s climate has changed.”

— Scambos et al., 2024
February 20, 2024 •

Monitoring Polar Ice Change in the Twilight Zone, Eos

“OpenET is working to make the unseen process of evapotranspiration as easy to track as checking the amount of rainfall in the daily weather forecast.”

— Forrest Melton, OpenET Project Scientist, NASA’s Ames Research Center
February 1, 2024 •

“Landsat data has proved invaluable for much of the work we do to try and comprehend how Earth’s cryosphere is responding to a warming planet and to infer what those results mean for our collective future.”

— Alex Gardner, NASA JPL Cryosphere Scientist
January 19, 2024 •

“There is no more powerful tool for tracking land change through time than the Landsat series of satellites.”

— David Applegate, USGS Director
January 5, 2024 •

“As the impacts of the climate crisis intensify in the United States and across the globe, Landsat satellites are crucial to providing data and imagery to help make science-based decisions on key issues including water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and tropical deforestation.”

—  David Applegate, USGS Director
December 20, 2023 •

“Science and technologies, especially satellite imagery, are absolutely essential because people’s livelihoods, natural resources, and biodiversity are connected to each other. Satellite imagery are our eyes in the sky, providing those insights and up-to-date information.”

— Dr. Lillian Pintea, VP of Conservation Science, Jane Goodall Institute
September 13, 2023 •

“The stories that you can tell around the [Landsat] images, along with the images, make something very, very powerful. And you need both to make the kind of impact that we need to make today to help people understand the devastation we’ve caused. But [also] to  give them hope that we can turn things around. And that’s what these satellite images show so clearly.”

— Jane Goodall
September 13, 2023 •

“The synergistic use of Landsat, GPM [Global Precipitation Measurement], and GFS [Global Forecast System] can help the world become more water-efficient and energy-efficient in growing food, while also becoming more affordable and convenient for farmers.”

— Faisal Hossain, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Washington and leader of IRAS
August 3, 2023 •

“We live on this planet Earth. We all know that we want to leave this planet for our children. We know the importance of sustainability and I think that’s what Landsat’s all about. It’s about helping us manage the planet that we live on for the long-term. And that’s why it’s there and that’s why it continues to be here. And I expect it to be there for the next generation as well.”

— Bruce Cook, Landsat Next Project Scientist, NASA
June 29, 2023 •

“Our mission right now is really a quantum step forward from previous Landsats… I can’t wait to see what comes out of all of these emerging applications and how well it supports the user.”

— Jim Pontius, Landsat Next Project Manager, NASA
June 29, 2023 •

“Landsat has been historically the gold standard reference for calibration of many different missions across the whole globe. The radiometric quality for Landsat Next will be at least as good as any previous Landsat. So, we will maintain that standard for calibration and referencing for all missions.”

— Jim Pontius, Landsat Next Project Manager, NASA
June 29, 2023 •

“I have really appreciated being able to use Landsat data as a ‘time machine’ to understand our changing environment.”

— Bex Dunn, Earth Observation Scientist at Geoscience Australia
June 22, 2023 •

“We have so many options with Landsat Next, to add additional information and context to support our wetland managers as well as continuing the historical record of change and variability of our wetlands.”

— Bex Dunn, Earth Observation Scientist at Geoscience Australia
June 22, 2023 •

“It is one of the greatest wetlands management tools that has become available in many years. The wetlands mapping plus WIT outputs are used on a daily basis by a very broad range of stakeholders, from government officers to planners and to those involved in on-ground rehabilitation and management—frankly it’s hard to know how we managed without it.”

— Mike Ronan, a wetland manager with Australia’s Queensland Department of Environment and Science talking about the Landsat-based Wetland Insight Tool
June 22, 2023 •

“The Landsat data record is absolutely invaluable—wetland managers can start to understand if changes they are seeing take place over months, years or decades.”

— Bex Dunn, Earth Observation Scientist at Geoscience Australia
June 22, 2023 •

“Landsat is the only operational satellite that combines thermal and optical data at the spatial resolution needed to assess water use and water rights, which is often at the level of individual agricultural fields.”

— OpenET website
June 1, 2023 •

“Landsat is the gold standard calibration reference because the Landsat Program has committed to world-class radiometric and geometric calibration standards.”

— Julia Barsi, Landsat Calibration Scientist
May 11, 2023 •

“We are very excited to employ integrated Landsat and Sentinel-2 data. The combined observations provide an unprecedented capability and, we expect, an unprecedented record of global land change.”

— Matt Hansen, professor at the University of Maryland and OPERA project partner
April 18, 2023 •

“Timelapse in Google Earth is possible because of the commitment to open and accessible data through NASA and the United States Geological Survey’s Landsat program (the world’s first and longest-running civilian Earth observation program) and the European Union’s Copernicus program with its Sentinel satellites.”

— Chris Herwig, Program Manager, Google Earth Engine
April 4, 2023 •

“We got everything we asked for.”

— David Roy, Landsat Science Team co-lead and Interim Director of the Center for Global Change and Earth Observations at Michigan State University, describing the Landsat Next mission to fellow Landsat Science Team members
February 7, 2023 •

“[The Landsat MSS sensor] transformed expectations of how we can know the Earth.”

— Deborah Popper, Vice President of the American Geographical Society
December 29, 2022 •

“Landsat’s superpower is time travel… With phenology, vegetation phenology, and drought impacts, the time dimension is extremely important and more frequent data allows for higher accuracy and better characterization of agricultural phenomena.”

— Jesslyn Brown; Research Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey
December 15, 2022 •

“Landsat and agriculture go hand in hand because agriculture is a seasonal phenomenon, and you really need to monitor it closely over time.”

— Darrel Williams; Chief Scientist, Global Science & Technologies, Inc | NASA Landsat Project Scientist, 1992–2010
December 15, 2022 •

“The Landsat program relative to agriculture monitoring has been profound. The whole idea that Landsat could look at the condition of crops, the acreage of crops, seeing how they evolve, diseases… it just has been tremendously impactful for agriculture.”

— Vince Salomonson; Professor Emeritus, University of Utah | Landsat Project Scientist, 1977–1989
December 15, 2022 •

“Landsat, with its five-decade record of robust collection, calibration and archiving, and its longstanding service as a global reference to cross-calibrate other missions, improves not only the quality of those systems but the overall quality of the global ‘system of systems’.”

— Kevin Gallagher, Associate Director for Core Science Systems, USGS
December 1, 2022 •

“Understanding how this planet works and helping people make better, informed decisions is really what we’re about in Earth Science.”

— Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division
November 21, 2022 •

“The ability to see what was happening through time through Landsat imagery helped us tremendously… from sea-level, we hadn’t seen the signs of retreat that the Landsat imagery showed us—the diminishing of the glaciers, of the size and mass of the glaciers. It rocked our world. It truly changed the narrative of interpretation in Glacier Bay. The story that we shared with visitors about glaciers in Glacier Bay was transformed by that information.”

— Laura Buchheit, National Park Service Ranger
October 19, 2022 •

The Satellite Stewards of Glacier Bay

“Landsat can see the surface—human settlements, forests, coastal systems. It helps us understand crucial areas of biodiversity on land, crop yields, how to manage our resources, how to protect them.”

— Ver Chirayath, National Geographic Explorer
September 9, 2022 •

“For more than fifty years now, Landsat satellites have helped us learn more about how Earth systems work, how human activities affect those systems, and how we can make better decisions for the future. Landsat 9, the latest joint effort by NASA and USGS, proudly carries on that remarkable record.”

— NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
August 11, 2022 •

“A half-century archive of Landsat’s Earth observations is a magnificent achievement in the history of science. This fifty-year record gives scientists a consistent baseline that can be used to track climate change and enables them to see changes to the land that might not otherwise be noticed.”

— Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior
August 11, 2022 •

“Our ability to analyze decades of history through the Landsat data record provided a strong backbone to this work.”

— Danielle Rappaport, scientist and co-founder of the Amazon Investor Coalition
August 11, 2022 •

“As one of the longest data archives suitable for this purpose, Landsat data allows us to analyze coastal wetland change over time-periods that enable us to monitor long-term directional change in the extent of the world’s coastal ecosystems and distinguish them from natural fluctuations. Our work on tidal flats and global coastal wetland change would not be possible without free access to a long-term, spatially comprehensive dataset such as Landsat.”

— Nicholas Murray, ecologist at James Cook University
August 6, 2022 •

“Landsat data are essential for monitoring long-term changes of Earth’s ecosystems.”

— Nicholas Murray, ecologist at James Cook University
August 6, 2022 •

“There’s still so much more information to retrieve from Landsat’s 50-year, multispectral data record.”

— Chris Crawford, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (USGS)
July 29, 2022 •

“If it weren’t for Landsat, we wouldn’t be where we are in terms of understanding our Earth.”

— Alistair Miller, head of imagery products and partnerships, Mapbox Inc.
July 29, 2022 •

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without Landsat paving the way.”

— Lawrence Friedl, Director of NASA’s Applied Sciences Program
July 22, 2022 •

“Many people have no idea how Earth imagery has improved their daily lives as it has become integrated into modern technologies. Like GPS and weather data, information from Landsat is woven into the fabric of our economy and society.”

— Kevin Gallagher, USGS Associate Director for Core Science Systems
July 21, 2022 •

“As we continue the work to understanding our planet in the face of climate change, Landsat’s unique data and record of our changing Earth has proven invaluable,”

— Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
July 21, 2022 •

“Over the past 50 years, eight Landsat satellites have circled the planet, which have helped to save and improve lives and support our economy. NASA will continue to work with USGS to improve access to Landsat’s unprecedented 50-year record and build on the program’s legacy.”

— Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
July 21, 2022 •

“For 50 years, the Landsat program has documented the conditions on the Earth. Now, in the face of historic droughts, fires, and extreme weather events accelerated by climate change, it is more important than ever for us to continue this program into the future for the next 50 years.”

— Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior
July 21, 2022 •

“There is no better source of information [than Landsat] to document the changes happening to our planet’s landscapes­—and we need this continuous record to help our communities become more resilient to the dramatic effects we are seeing.”

— Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior
July 21, 2022 •

“The user community has expressed great interest in maintaining Landsat continuity, supporting synergy with the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, and enabling new emerging applications that are critical to tackle the challenges in today’s global environment.”

— Zhuoting Wu, USGS Physical Scientist
July 1, 2022 •

“[W]e see—at least in the commercial sector—that these missions really depend on Landsat as a reference calibrated measurement to adjust or align their measurements to Landsat.”

— Chris Crawford, USGS Research Physical Scientist & USGS Landsat Project Scientist
July 1, 2022 •

“Several satellite systems can now measure the surface urban heat island, but the Landsat program provides decades of continuous, comparable data in the detail necessary to examine variations within a city. That continuity helps scientists measure the impact of changes and track how development patterns change a neighborhood’s heat profile.”

— Daniel P. Johnson, Associate Professor of Geography, IUPUI
June 14, 2022 •

“Satellites like those in the the Landsat program – which celebrates its 50th anniversary on July 23, 2022 – have become crucial for pinpointing urban risks so cities can prepare for and respond to extreme heat, a top weather-related killer.”

— Daniel P. Johnson, Associate Professor of Geography, IUPUI
June 14, 2022 •

“With its superhuman sight, and decades of archived imagery, Landsat provides us with the ability to see through time, to track the vegetal movement which is beyond our normal sight and to see it for what it really is: a titanic unfolding of active and intentional life.”

— James Bridle, writer and artist
June 1, 2022 •

“If you don’t know what Landsat (NASA/USGS) and Sentinel-1/Sentinel-2 (ESA) are, they are scientific Earth observation missions involving large, exquisitely calibrated satellites that capture imagery of the entire globe on a regular cadence. Landsat is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In fact, there have been 9 different satellites bearing the Landsat name over those five decades—Landsat 9 was launched last year! The data they produce is open and hosted freely for anyone to access. Pretty wild.”

— Joe Morrison
May 23, 2022 •

“It’s hard to quantify the value of Landsat, but the last time USGS tried in 2017 they estimated that it produces $3.45B in value to society annually. There’s a second important conclusion buried in that study: if they tried charging for the data, that value would likely vanish in the blink of an eye.”

— Joe Morrison
May 23, 2022 •

“[I]n 2008 USGS first instituted the policy of giving away Landsat data for free (first with Landsat 7, then the rest of the archive in 2009). It probably felt like a crazy choice at the time after billions of dollars of investment in the program… but the effect was immediate and extraordinary. Roughly a 100-fold increase in downloads in a decade.”

— Joe Morrison
May 23, 2022 •

“One of the most powerful capabilities we can offer is a continuous global view of our planet. Without the observations of land, precipitation, the atmosphere, and our oceans, we would be flying blind in terms of what trends have been and how we can improve of our models for the future.”

— Dalia Kirschbaum, Hydrological Sciences Lab Chief at NASA Goddard
April 22, 2022 •

“The Landsat satellite program has provided images of the Earth’s surface for more than 40 years, and so it is ideal for documenting long-term changes in ecosystems such as giant kelp forests.”

— Kyle Cavanaugh, kelpwatch.org lead scientist; UCLA
April 4, 2022 •

“Landsat 9 data will be delivered in a format that is consistent with currently available data from the previous Landsat satellites. This provides an unbroken story of land changes through over 40 years of Earth observation data.”

— Geoscience Australia
February 28, 2022 •

“It’s really a new era for Landsat, in that we’re going to have two observatories with very similar capabilities and very similar—if not identical—performances operating together. And this is going to provide more data to the Landsat mission than we’ve ever had before.”

— Chris Crawford, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (USGS)
February 23, 2022 •

“Mr. Chair, in the era of climate disasters, the value of Earth observations and global cooperation has never been more apparent.”

— Kevin Conole, Senior Program Specialist, NASA Office of International and Interagency Relations to 59th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee
February 14, 2022 •

“[B]eing able to produce maps with Landsat data that show how things have changed over time, and then actually seeing how they are improving and how we are losing less of these really critical and important ecosystems to me is really encouraging.”

— Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo; Research Physical Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
February 14, 2022 •

“Landsat is really important because it gives us that time component. We can go back in time and see what an area let’s say a coastal zone or a mangrove forest has been like over time.”

— Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo; Research Physical Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
February 14, 2022 •

“We did a study… where we were looking at the main drivers of change in mangrove forests on a global scale. And we would not have been able to do that if it wasn’t for Landsat data and the standardized, well-calibrated data sets that come out of Landsat.”

— Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo; Research Physical Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
February 14, 2022 •

“The power of Landsat is that you can travel through time and you can travel through space and tell these really rich stories to help the greater good.”

— Kate Fickas, remote sensing ecologist, and USGS Mendenhall Fellow
February 8, 2022 •

“Landsat is, on its own merits, an extremely important capability for our country. It becomes all the more important when we overlay on top of that, the challenges of climate change and the fact that we are driving our climate to a place that we haven’t seen before, scientifically.”

— Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division
February 8, 2022 •

“We can really say that we have achieved a level of remote sensing and Earth observation that we have never had before. We’re in the golden age right now with these satellites.”

— Tim Newman, USGS National Land Imaging Program coordinator, talking about the Landsat 8 & 9 constellation along with ESA’s Sentinel-2A and 2B
February 8, 2022 •

“I think of Landsat as a Swiss Army knife. It is one basic set of observations that feeds an entire range of Earth science applications and research.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (NASA)
February 8, 2022 •

“[Landsat] has transformed our understanding of Earth and allows us to better monitor and respond to changes on our planet.”

— Dave Applegate, acting USGS director
February 8, 2022 •

“That the Landsat data have been so useful, that the program has continued for 50 years, and that people from so many different fields of study continue to be so excited about the data: All that is amazing.”

— Virginia Norwood
February 8, 2022 •