Quotes to Note

“Because of Landsat’s global purview and long history, it has become a reference point for all Earth observation work and is considered the gold standard of natural resource satellite imagery.”

— Jed Sundwall
March 19, 2015 •

Amazon Web Services Official Blog

“The Landsat series of satellites is a cornerstone of our Earth observing capability. The world relies on Landsat data to detect and measure land cover/land use change, the health of ecosystems, and water availability.”

— Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
March 4, 2015 •

Testimony to Subcommittee on Space Committee on Science, Space and Technology U.S House of Representatives

“Our Landsat-based insect atlas facilitates comparisons across space, time, and insect agents that have not been possible to date.”

— Garrett Meigs et al.
March 1, 2015 •

Forest Ecology and Management

“Tropical deforestation plays a big role in global climate cycles… without the transparency of Landsat satellite data is difficult to put your finger on changing trends.”

— Douglas Morton, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
February 25, 2015 •

Felling of Tropical Trees Has Soared

“The US satellite series—its current flier is named Landsat 8—pioneered the science of monitoring the planet from orbit. It has assembled a continuous record of the world’s fluctuating features that stretches back more than 40 years. In satellite terms, it is the gold standard.”

— Jonathan Amos
February 25, 2015 •

BBC News

“Sentinel-2a is essentially Europe’s version of the American Landsat mission.”

— Jonathan Amos
February 25, 2015 •

BBC News

“Landsat and SRTM are my eyes on the ground. Without them I am totally blind. They are great gifts to humanity.”

— Alain Gachet, Radar Technologies International founder and modern humanitarian water diviner
January 28, 2015 •


“The economic value of just one year of Landsat data far exceeds the multi-year total cost of building, launching, and managing Landsat satellites and sensors.”

— USGS press release
January 14, 2015 •

Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment

“The long, consistent view of Earth from space provided by Landsat sparks advances in science, enables more efficient natural resources management, and promotes profitable applications of the data in commerce and industry. In step with the National Research Council and other objective reviews, the non-federal Landsat Advisory Group has found that the broad benefits of Landsat far outweigh the cost.”

— USGS press release
January 14, 2015 •

Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment

“Landsat is widely considered to be a crucial national asset, comparable to the satellite-based GPS system and National Weather Service satellites. Ready access to Landsat images supplies a reliable common record of Earth conditions that fosters the mutual understanding of environmental challenges by citizens, researchers, and decision makers worldwide.”

— USGS press release
January 14, 2015 •

Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment

“Since late 2008, when Landsat data was made available to all users free of charge, over 22 million Landsat scenes have been downloaded through the USGS-EROS website—and the rate of downloads is still increasing.”

— USGS press release
January 14, 2015 •

Landsat Seen as Stunning Return on Public Investment

“Those are the Islands of the Four Mountains… The Landsat image shows them on June 8, 2013… One of the things I love about science is how it gives us perspective.”

— Phil Plait
January 8, 2015 •

Slate's Bad Astronomy blog

“There are more than 800 billion Landsat-derived pixels of land in our imagery. If we printed out just our Landsat-based world map at poster resolution, it would cover two acres.”

— Charlie Loyd
December 23, 2014 •

Mapbox: Innovating with Landsat

“The advent of Landsat data enabled an unparalleled increase in our understanding of the Earth system.”

— Randolph Wynne, Landsat Science Team
December 21, 2014 •

Virginia Tech Geospatial Studies and Landsat

“Now that the entire Landsat archive is freely available it has become economically feasible to monitor disturbance over large areas using satellite time series.”

— Todd Schroeder, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
December 19, 2014 •

U.S. Forest Service Uses Landsat to Improve Estimates of Forest Disturbance

“Remote sensing with satellites such as Landsat and sensors such as MODIS allows scientists to conduct a range of studies they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”

— Karl Flessa, co-chief scientist of the Minute 319 Science Team
December 17, 2014 •

Landsat Satellite Sees Green-up Along Colorado River’s Delta After Experimental Flow

“Data from Landsat and the MODIS sensor are well-suited to help people make informed policy decisions about ecosystem health, water management, agriculture and much more.”

— Jim Irons
December 17, 2014 •

Landsat Satellite Sees Green-up Along Colorado River’s Delta After Experimental Flow

“By unleashing the power of our vast and open data resources, the Climate Data Initiative helps spark private sector innovation and will leverage resources for those on the front lines who are dealing with climate change. We are pooling into one place data from across the federal government to make it more accessible to the public and we hope our efforts will inspire other countries to follow suit.”

— Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior
December 9, 2014 •

Secretary Jewell Announces New Tools to Help Communities Build Resilience to Climate Change

“Population in 1972… was around 4 billion people. When we launched Landsat 8 there was 7 billion people on the surface of the planet. Due to those factors our land use and land cover has changed dramatically and continues to change and we use the information and the images from the Landsat satellites to understand the change, to study the trends, and to predict the future.”

— Jim Irons
November 26, 2014 •

Xploration Outer Space: Satellites

“We’re happy to see that the Agribotix imaging system performs so well when compared to Landsat 8, one of the highest quality land imaging satellite systems…”

— Agribotix blog
November 26, 2014 •

"NDVI for Agriculture: A Comparison of Agribotix Imagery with Landsat 8"

“Landsat 8 represents yet another substantial advance to continuing a 40 year land data record, essential to understanding the Earth’s biosphere, anthropogenic changes to land use and land cover, the terrestrial carbon cycle, and the consequences for climate and biodiversity. This important extension to the Landsat series, the Landsat 8 mission, was achieved, through an outstanding interagency and industrial partnership, effectively managed to achieve breakthrough improvements in satellite and sensor performance.”

— Forrest Hall
November 18, 2014 •

Pecora Award letter of support for the Landsat 8 Team

“What a Landsat it is! The data are strikingly good and the delivery system is flawless. Landsat 8 arrives just as Landsat data use has exploded under the free data policy and the ability to deliver geolocated and atmospherically-corrected products… new and exciting applications are being revealed daily.”

— Alan Strahler
November 18, 2014 •

Pecora Award letter of support for the Landsat 8 Team

“What makes this [Landsat 8] mission team special is the fervor they brought to task. They were challenged to retain the historic data continuity, yet take advantage of new technology while balancing cost and complexity. Few, if any, missions face such a challenge with such consequences on the line. After more than a decade of dedication, this Team launched a new sensor that was more sensitive and robust than previous sensors, and provided not only data continuity but even more and better data.”

— Susan Moran
November 18, 2014 •

Pecora Award letter of support for the Landsat 8 Team

“The Landsat satellite series has proven to be a perfect match to the needs of modern irrigated agriculture and water resources management.”

— Dr. Rick Allen, Professor of Water Resources Engineering
November 11, 2014 •

UI Kimberly Research and Extension Center

“The Landsat science community is giddy at the results they’re seeing from the latest Landsat instrument. It’s that much better than the last one.”

— Cary Ludtke, Operational Space VP and General Manager, Ball Aerospace & Technology Corp.
November 6, 2014 •


“When fighting broke out, the [New York Times] graphics team pulled up images from [the] Landsat 8 satellite to look for changes on the ground.”

— Greg Miller
October 23, 2014 •

MapLab, Wired Magazine

“There is a sensor in the Landsat satellite which measures the intensity of the reflected radiation back into space. What if we could use satellite imagery from the Landsat program to find fossils?”

— Robert Anemone
October 22, 2014 •

Dinosaur GPS

“Giant kelp forests are especially sensitive to environmental changes and have a history of undergoing abrupt, dramatic declines and increases in response to a variety of climatic and human-induced factors. The application of our remote sensing methods to the long-term (continuous since 1984), high frequency (~ once per month) global coverage of Landsat imagery is providing a unique opportunity for studying these dynamics over spatial and temporal scales that were previously impossible to examine. The recent decision to make Landsat data available to the public at no charge has greatly facilitated our use of this phenomenal resource for investigating giant kelp forests and is proving to be an invaluable tool in marine spatial planning and evaluation of recently established no-take marine reserves.”

— Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research
October 15, 2014 •

Watching from Space

“The USGS’s Landsat mission has an incredible 40-year record of the planet’s changing landscape, with virtually every spot imaged every eight days. It’s an incredible scientific asset.”

— Betsy Mason
October 14, 2014 •

Wired Magazine

“Landsat is the oldest continually operated program of its kind: Its satellites have been capturing images of the Earth since the Nixon administration.”

— Robinson Meyer
September 10, 2014 •

The Atlantic

“Landsat 8 can collect more than 700 images per day—14 times as much as in the 1980s.”

— Wulder Coops
September 4, 2014 •


“When the archive was opened, there were more Landsat images outside it than in it. Many images were retained by the global network of receiving stations. An effort to consolidate these has added more than 3 million images to the repository since 2010; agreements are in place for a further 2 million to be ingested.”

— Wulder & Coops
September 4, 2014 •


“Usage rocketed in 2008, when Landsat made its images free. More than a million images were downloaded in the first year, compared with a previous annual high of 25,000 images sold. More than 20 million images have been downloaded since the archive opened and the rate continues to increase.”

— Wulder & Coops
September 4, 2014 •


“A new era of open-access satellite data has arrived. In 2008, The U.S. Geological Survey released for free to the public its Landsat archive, which dates back to the 1970s and is the world’s largest collection of Earth imagery.”

— Wulder & Coops
September 4, 2014 •


“Landsat was really a time machine for us.”

— Bob Shuchman, the co-director of the Michigan Tech Research Institute
August 6, 2014 •

Taking NASA-USGS’s Landsat 8 to the Beach

“Landsat data gives us a fuller picture of the planet we live on and the resources humanity needs to survive.”

— Brian Kahn
July 23, 2014 •

Climate Central

“In the world of water resource management, Landsat has played a key role in providing objective and continuous data for the United States, particularly in the arid west. Water-related benefits of Landsat imagery are also reaped far beyond the United States’ borders in countries such as Chile, Australia, Morocco, Sudan, and Venezuela, which are using Landsat data to make informed decisions regarding natural resource allocation and use.”

— Larisa Serbina and Holly M. Miller
July 1, 2014 •

Landsat and Water—Case Studies of the Uses and Benefits of Landsat Imagery in Water Resources

“It’s a treasure trove.”

— Rebecca Moore
June 26, 2014 •

Founder of Google's Earth Engine on the Landsat Archive

“The Landsat mission has been monitoring Earth from orbit for more than 40 years. It is by far the longest continuous record of the surface of the planet, and certainly one of the most valuable data sets in existence.”

— Betsy Mason
May 31, 2014 •

Wired Magazine

“Fire perimeters collected using Landsat imagery are accurate, timely and cost-effective.”

— Brian Sorbel
May 27, 2014 •

“Landsat is currently the only satellite program to provide a consistent, cross-calibrated set of records stretching back over more than four decades, which in turn means the program occupies a key position in the provision of terrestrial essential climate variables.”

— Belward and Skøien
April 28, 2014 •

Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

“An engineering degree opens many doors. It has served me well.”

— Jeanine Murphy-Morris
March 4, 2014 •

““When the first images appeared, people would talk about the folds in the Appalachian Mountains. There had been textbooks written that described the processes that lead to those formations. For the first time it was possible to observe from great height what people had been talking about for hundreds of years.”

— Dr. Jim Irons, Landsat 8 Project Scientist
March 1, 2014 •

“The economic and scientific benefits to the United States of Landsat imagery far exceed the investment in the system.”

— National Research Council
August 20, 2013 •

Landsat and Beyond: Sustaining and Enhancing the Nation’s Land Imaging Program

“The value of Landsat data is internationally recognized as indispensable to science, natural resource management, commerce, security, foreign policy, agriculture, and education.”

— National Geospatial Advisory Committee, Landsat Advisory Group
September 18, 2012 •

Statement on Landsat Data Use and Charges

“Landsat has given us a critical perspective on our planet over the long term and will continue to help us understand the big picture of Earth and its changes from space. With this view we are better prepared to take action on the ground and be better stewards of our home.”

— Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
July 23, 2012 •

“Landsat has really become the gold standard of remote sensing from space. It’s provided an invaluable, indelible record of the recent history of our planet.”

— Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior
July 23, 2012 •

“The Landsat program has given each and every one of us in every part of the world a thoroughly objective, continuous look at ourselves in the mirror since 1972.”

— Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior
July 23, 2012 •

“Satellite technologies have led to one of the most productive periods in the history of cartography, comparable only to the golden age of mapmaking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”

— Miles Harvey
October 6, 2010 •

The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime

“A sizable portion of our greenhouse gas contribution to the atmosphere comes from land use. And having Landsat data to look back to the 1970s, from there to now, you can then calculate or approximate year-by-year what that contribution is, and that’s extremely important.”

— Compton Tucker, a NASA scientist who studies forests and climate change
January 13, 2010 •

“Landsat data are a key climate data source. That’s true for vegetation, for the carbon cycle, and it’s true for the cryosphere.”

— Compton Tucker, a NASA scientist who studies forests and climate change
January 13, 2010 •

“We have brought it from the brink of death and back to life so many times over the last seven years. It’s just amazing what our flight operations team and our engineers are able to do with that spacecraft. It’s the oldest spacecraft of its type still functioning. We’ve certainly gotten our money’s worth out of it.”

— Kristi Kline, Landsat program manager at the USGS Earth Resources Science and Observation Center
January 13, 2010 •

“While Landsat instruments are fundamentally just electro-optical transducers that ingest photons and eject a digital bit stream, this transduction relies upon the state of the art in numerous technologies including optics, precision electromechanics, detectors, advanced materials, cryogenics, and signal processing.”

— Aram Mika
July 31, 1997 •

"Three Decades of Landsat Instruments," PE&RS

“By seeing in electromagnetic increments beyond the normal range of human vision, Landsat revealed whole new worlds hidden within the folds of a familiar world we thought we knew so well.”

— Stephen S. Hall
February 11, 1992 •

Mapping the Next Millennium

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 •
— Ted Scambos, Senior Research Scientist, University of Colorado Earth Science Observation Center
September 16, 2021 •
— David Applegate, Associate Director for Natural Hazards Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Geological Survey
September 16, 2021 •