““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.”

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

“Without Landsat, ‘we would be flying blind. We need those eyes in the sky to complement our ground efforts.'”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“Landsat 8 is an incredible resource for global change research and has been used in a diverse array of scientific endeavors including the monitoring of deforestation, population growth, and glacier recession.”

“Within Australia, Earth Observation is so commonly used across all levels of government, industry and society that the minimum economic impact of Earth Observation from space-borne sensors alone is approximately $5.3 billion each year [Australian $; ~4.15B US$].”

“When you have Landsat you can actually show people how we are changing the face of the planet.”

“The Landsat archive holds great potential for studying the processes behind the Greenland Ice Sheet’s response to our changing climate over multi-decadal time scales. It is essential that this record be exploited over other areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet.”

“Without the free and open Landsat data policy, a lot of commercial applications wouldn’t be feasible and a lot of commercial companies—including GDA—would be very different than they are.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“There are roughly 400 billion land pixels in a single [Landsat] global mosaic.” (With at least one image of every location on Earth per season every year, the entire 43-year Landsat record contains more than 50 trillion pixels.)

“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.”

“New sensors are nice, but can’t let us see back in time. Happy 17th!”

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.

“Landsat provides a very good coverage of Amazonia both spatially and temporally. We have known for some time already that the Landsat images can be used to identify ecologically relevant environmental and biotic variation in Amazonian rainforests, but this is the first time we use satellite images to actually predict species distributions.”

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.