Quotes to Note

“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 9 Satellite Continues Half-Century of Earth Observations, BioScience

“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 •

“Timelapse in Google Earth simply wouldn’t have been possible without 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.”

— Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach
April 15, 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 •

“I’m grateful that NASA, USGS, and scientists like William Pecora had the foresight to begin collecting Earth observations a half century ago.”

— Justin Braaten, Google Earth Engine technical writer/coder
March 25, 2021 •

Justin Braaten has the Code

“The first step of ecosystem accounting is to actually map the dynamics of ecosystems over time.”

— Celio De Sousa; NASA research scientist who uses Landsat data to create countrywide land cover maps
March 11, 2021 •

“I do sleep, but I dream of Landsat!”

— Justin Braaten, data scientist and prolific Google Earth Engine coder
February 25, 2021 •

“Without Landsat, we’d still be in the Dark Ages of tracking global forest carbon using spreadsheet models.”

— Dr. Nancy Harris, Global Forest Watch
February 11, 2021 •

“The Landsat Program continues to be one of the most valuable, respected, and referenced Earth observation programs in the world.”

— Ellie Leydsman McGinty, UtahView State Coordinator
January 27, 2021 •

Mapping Landsat's Long History

“That is one cool thing about Landsat… people are always finding new applications.”

— Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 Project Scientist
December 17, 2020 •

“This global census can help identify other lakes in need of monitoring or remediation, Dr. Shugar said. ‘We hope that it allows governments to see where the hot spots might be for glacial lakes growing in the future.'”

— Dan Shugar, glaciologist at the University of Calgary, speaking of his Landsat-based glacial lake inventory
October 2, 2020 •

“Whether it’s since 1985 or 2000, we see this greening of the Arctic evident in the Landsat record.”

— Logan Berner, a global change ecologist, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff
September 23, 2020 •

Warming Temperatures are Driving Arctic Greening; NASA

“The success of a mission, and the societal benefits it creates, relies on many factors, including design, manufacture, launch, and operation of the sensor. However, it also includes data acquisition, accessibility, availability, and continuity, all of which are embodied by the Landsat program.”

— Yuan et al.
August 1, 2020 •

“The really unique part about the Landsat record is the fact that it goes back to the ’70s. I can’t imagine what it would be like to describe what this volcano did without having a timeseries of Landsat. There is no other asset in the sky that can show us what Landsat does in terms of the effect of this eruption and also the effect of recovery following the eruption.”

— Sean Healey, research ecologist, Rocky Mountain Research Service, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

40 Years After Mount St. Helens’ Eruption, 40 Years of Forest Recovery

“There is no other asset in the sky that can show us what Landsat does in terms of the effect of this eruption and also the effect of recovery following the eruption.”

— Dr. Sean Healy, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to describe what this volcano did without having a time series of Landsat.”

— Dr. Sean Healy, U.S. Forest Service
May 18, 2020 •

“Land cover is fundamental for a plethora of applications. Approaches using #Landsat time series have been transformative.”

— Dr. Joanne C. White, Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service
May 6, 2020 •

“Thanks to satellites and to science, we now know much more about Earth than we did on the first Earth Day fifty years ago.”

— Dr. Michael Freilich, former director of NASA’s Earth Science division
April 30, 2020 •

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

— Dr. Warren Cohen, U.S. Forest Service, Landsat Science Team former member
April 28, 2020 •

Making Use of MSS: The Effort to Fold the Earliest Data into the Landsat Record, USGS EROS

“Because Landsat’s been operating for so long—thermal imaging has been enabled since the 1980s—we can study how patterns in water use have changed over the landscape over long periods of time as the climate has changed and as land use patterns have changed. So Landsat has been really a critical sensor for our work.”

— Dr. Martha Anderson, USDA Researchers and Landsat Science Team Member
April 22, 2020 •

“The archive is just going to continue to yield good information, good science, better management, reduced costs… The biggest contribution of Landsat will be that archive.”

— Dr. John Schott, professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology
April 17, 2020 •

“You can launch a new satellite, but you can’t put something up in the past. Landsat will always be that historic record that new satellites can tie themselves to.”

— Dr. Michael Wulder, Canadian Forest Service and Landsat Science Team member
March 13, 2020 •

“@USGSLandsat @NASA_Landsat wrote the book on open data, how to do it right, how it creates businesses and benefits economy, and — of course — gifts the world with a 4+ decade *scientific* record of our planet’s changing dynamics.”

— Chris Herwig, Google GeoData Engineer, on 100 millionth Landsat download from USGS
March 11, 2020 •

“A 35-year dataset in marine biology is really hard to find… But we need long-term data to understand climate change and how it impacts populations. This was an exponential increase in the amount of information available about kelp forests in Oregon.”

— Sara Hamilton, OSU marine biologist , on the importance of Landsat data for her work
March 5, 2020 •

“Using Landsat images, an epidemiologist can build dynamic prediction models that take into account sudden environmental changes which may increase the risk of disease spread.”

— Dr. Donal Bisanzio, senior epidemiologist with RTI International
March 5, 2020 •

“By analyzing 34 years of [Landsat] data, we estimated that about 56% of the rivers globally are affected by seasonal ice [and] that there is 2.5 percentage points decline of river ice globally during this time.”

— Xiao Yang, paleoclimatologist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
February 25, 2020 •

“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.”

— Dr. Danny Bednar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Western University
January 22, 2020 •

“The results of the Scopus bibliometric analysis indicate that inland water quality remote sensing has been growing dramatically since its introduction in the 1970s…The most pronounced year-on-year jump occurs right after 2008, which corresponds to the public release of freely available Landsat imagery by NASA and the US Geological Survey…This result is consistent with previous research showing that for multiple earth observation fields, the release of the Landsat archive resulted in more frequent and larger-scale studies.”

— Simon N. Topp et al., 2020
January 7, 2020 •

“The opening of the Landsat archive in 2008 was pivotal… We now have the best available map of disturbances for the United States.”

— Sean Healey, an ecologist with the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station
December 23, 2019 •

“By combining the 34-year record provided by Landsat [30 m] with climate data, we can now quantify relations between water availability and vegetation dynamics in ways that were not previously possible.”

— Dr. Christine Albano, ecohydrologist at the Desert Research Institute
December 13, 2019 •

“The availability and accessibility of remotely sensed digital imagery obtained from Landsat satellites allow coastal scientist—and more importantly community members—the opportunity to map, evaluate and continuously monitor shoreline movement at regular intervals given the unprecedented pace of Arctic climate change.”

— Dr. Ravi Darwin Sankar, geologist with the Arctic Institute of North America & the University of Calgary in Canada
December 12, 2019 •