“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 d…

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

“The fact that USGS and NASA makes this archive freely available, seems to me to be an inestimable service to the world, and the research community in particular.”

“We are now beginning to see that the combination of high performance computing, data storage facilities, data preparation techniques, and advanced systems can materially accelerate the value of Landsat data.”

“The Landsat collection 1 datasets represent a milestone in remote sensing science, with comparatively stable radiometric calibration and atmospheric correction.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

“We hope to accelerate innovation in climate research, humanitarian relief, and disaster preparedness efforts around the world by making Landsat data readily available near our flexible computing resources.”

“Free and open access to the Landsat archive has already spurred scientific innovation and provided a foundation for REDD+ monitoring, reporting and verification.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“It’s a fundamental resource for the Australian community. It’s used at local government level, state government level, and national levels. It’s our most important Earth-observing satellite with out a question in my mind.”

“Landsat has been producing Big Data since before data was big.”

“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.”

“From now on, we’re going to be able to track all of the different types of changes in glaciers – there’s so much science to extract from the data.”

“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.”

“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.”

“We looked at satellite images taken by the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat missions from 1972 and 1999 and the loss of forest and woodland cover along valleys and steep slopes was clear: eighty percent of the forests were gone. Through our analysis of Landsat forest change maps using GIS, we also calculated that the risk of landslide had increased fivefold during that time.”

“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?”

“This is an example of something government can do well: investing in infrastructure that broadly benefits society, and provides a stable platform for the development of businesses and economic activity. Landsat is the data equivalent of the interstate highway system, a public good that has spawned a thriving for-profit remote sensing industry in the US and beyond.”

“The quality of the Landsat 8 images is simply amazing!”

“Another landmark program within USGS is called Landsat… USGS made a decision…to be able to open up that data, make it free, and the scientific discoveries, the articles, the access, the utility of that data just went absolutely through the roof. So it’s been a really wonderful story about how opening up scientific data allows more discovery, gets people more excited… We really do try to put our data out there in a way that it is usable by the most amount of people as possible.”

Landsat 9 bw
Landsat 9 bw
Landsat 9 bw

The NASA/USGS Landsat Program provides the longest continuous space-based record of Earth’s land in existence. Landsat data give us information essential for making informed decisions about Earth’s resources and environment.