Quotes to Note

“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 •

“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 •

“[T]he pivotal aspect of the Landsat mission is the acquisition and curation of the most comprehensive and longest uninterrupted cross-calibrated EO data record ever gathered, with ensured continuity, and with ongoing efforts to consistently reprocess the entire image archive to incorporate cutting-edge advances in data preprocessing, which are then distributed as ‘collections’.”

— Frantz et al., 2022
January 26, 2022 •

“Landsat 9 is really a land imaging cornerstone in guaranteeing that we’ll continue to have the types of surface measurements that we’ve had for nearly 50 years, and I think that’s significant. The user community that has developed science and application advancements around Landsat 8 will now get two observatories that are nearly identical, and we can expect to have a high-quality and reliable data stream for the next 10-plus years while Landsat continues to evolve into the future.”

— Chris Crawford, Landsat Project Scientist (USGS)
December 16, 2021 •

Landsat 9 to Provide a Wealth of Data to Landsat Archive

“Landsat’s free and open data policy allows our coastline mapping methods to be easily scaled up and applied to other coastal regions, lowering barriers to understanding recent patterns and processes of coastal change globally.”

— Robbi Bishop-Taylor, Geoscience Australia coastal Earth observation scientist
December 14, 2021 •

Shifting Shores of the Australian Continent Mapped with Landsat

“The Landsat program provides an unparalleled historical record of coastal observations that captures how the world’s coastlines have changed over time in incredible detail. “Being able to access decades of regularly acquired and consistently calibrated Landsat data for even the most remote and inaccessible regions of Australia has been critical for our shoreline mapping method.”

— Robbi Bishop-Taylor, Geoscience Australia coastal Earth observation scientist
December 14, 2021 •

Shifting Shores of the Australian Continent Mapped with Landsat

“The analysis enabled by Landsat heat data provides a foundation for planning and problem solving. Without the data, we’re just guessing about what interventions work best to mitigate hot spots… unraveling the complexity of urban heat will ultimately help us build better cities and improve residents’ quality of life.”

— Jamie Ponce, executive director of Civic Infrastructure Collaborative
December 1, 2021 •

“We need to drive towards building sustainable cities and human settlements, and this depends on how well we measure these areas and how well we can predict the growth in all these cities in the future. I believe Earth observation and geospatial technologies give us the tools needed in order for us to grow in this direction.”

— Robert Ndugwa, Chief of Data & Analytics, UN-Habitat
November 11, 2021 •
“The [Landsat-informed] World Settlement Footprint is a great example on how we can mobilize the data revolution for the benefits of all countries and cities, leaving no one behind, which is one of the leitmotifs of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development.”
— Marc Paganini, ESA
November 11, 2021 •

“The availability of continuous data streams of high quality and free of charge satellite observations such as the Sentinels of the European Copernicus program and the Landsat missions, in combination with the emergence of automated methods for large data processing and data analytics, and the democratization of computing costs, offer unprecedented opportunities to efficiently monitor the changes and trends in urban development globally.”

— Marc Paganini, ESA
November 11, 2021 •

“Having a carefully calibrated multi-satellite record allows us to ensure that we are recording changes to the Earth, and not simply changes in the instrument response. The more detailed observations from Landsat 8 and Landsat 9 allow these subtle changes to be teased out of the long-term record unambiguously.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (NASA)
November 4, 2021 •

“The key role of Landsat in the context of climate change is to document the impact of climate change on global ecosystems, which is highly relevant for the future availability of food, water, and fiber resources, as well as the provision of ecosystem services including biodiversity.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (NASA)
November 4, 2021 •

“Landsat 9 replaces the older Landsat 7 and represents a step up in terms of image quality and data volume. Having two state-of-the-art platforms in orbit means more frequent data with excellent image quality.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (NASA)
November 4, 2021 •

“[With Landsat 8 and 9 together,] we get really great-quality data every eight days. That’s going to be a boon, especially for water quality applications.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist (NASA)
October 26, 2021 •

“A growing archive of Landsat images allow us to see how quickly icesheets are changing.”

— Ted Scambos, Senior Research Scientist, University of Colorado Earth Science Observation Center
September 16, 2021 •

“The more Landsat the better.”

— Matt Schauer, USGS-affiliated scientist who monitors water usage
September 16, 2021 •

“As the global population surpasses eight billion people, it will be important to effectively manage land to sustain life on Earth. Landsat 9 will pair with Landsat 8 to greatly improve our understanding of what is driving changes to our lands, surface waters, and coasts, and how we can sustainably manage it.”

— David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey
September 16, 2021 •

“Our research would not have been possible if it weren’t for decades of reliable Landsat data to help us look back in time. We hope these findings will encourage people to not only mitigate the effects of increased wildfire activity, but also to limit emissions and curb global warming.”

— Mohammad Reza Alizadeh, lead author, McGill University
September 2, 2021 •

Climate Change Pushes Wildfires to New Heights

“We like to think about Landsat as being, for this particular problem, sort of the sweet spot—the perfect asset. We found Landsat was really good at mapping the bulk of biomass for this particular test area we were looking at.”

— Michael Sayers, Research Scientist, Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), on mapping submerged aquatic vegetation in the Great Lakes
July 9, 2021 •

“I’d go to meetings and people were just jumping up and down because they had discovered another use for the data.”

— Virginia T. Norwood, talking about early Landsat data
June 30, 2021 •

“We are in this unique position where we have ice core records from these mountaintops, and Landsat has these detailed images of the glaciers, and if we combine those two data sets, we see clearly what is happening.”

— Lonnie Thompson, professor of Earth Sciences and senior research scientist at Ohio State’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center
June 21, 2021 •

Landsat satellite imagery is ideal for gauging vegetation cover shifts because it supplies spectral data for surface areas of about 90 square meters – fine enough to track changing spectral signal patterns across large study areas.

— Stijn Hantson, Project Scientist, UCI Department of Earth System Science
June 21, 2021 •

“Landsat has allowed managers to observe regional trends in kelp canopy area and biomass across more than 30 years. This is very valuable.”

— Meredith McPherson, University of California, Santa Cruz
June 4, 2021 •

“The tracking of over-irrigated areas for targeting irrigation advisory texts was completely dependent on Landsat TIR data.”

— Indira Bose, Wolf Water Resources
April 20, 2021 •

“If you really want to have a long history of understanding any process in the Earth, Landsat is where you should go.”

— Tasso Azevedo, MapBiomas Initiative
April 19, 2021 •

“Without Landsat we would not have the record we have today about deforestation and changing agriculture across a vast and important biome.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“The value of the Landsat archive is that we have a long-term memory of the changes that have occurred across the Amazon frontier.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“Landsat satellite data are the most important source we have about how much deforestation happens each year across the Amazon.”

— Doug Morton, Chief of the Biospheric Sciences Lab at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
April 19, 2021 •

“Landsat is indispensable for Timelapse in Google Earth—and so much more. Thank you @USGSLandsat @NASA_Landsat program, the world’s only long-term, continuous, data record of the entire Earth’s land surfaces dating back to 1972.”

— @googleearth
April 15, 2021 •

“Landsat provides an unparalleled record of how terrestrial Earth has changed since the early 1970s, closely coinciding with the beginning of rapid environmental change. It provides important historical context for the current state of land cover and land use and provides a reference for identifying abnormal types and rates of change.”

— Justin Braaten, Google Earth Engine technical writer/coder
March 25, 2021 •
— Laura Buchheit, National Park Service Ranger
October 19, 2022 •

The Satellite Stewards of Glacier Bay

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