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With new Landsat, the US seeks to guide the future of the Earth with better photos

Miami, Sep 27 (EFE News) .- With an improved Landsat satellite, sent into space this Monday, NASA and the US Government stressed today the importance of this program to “guide” political and scientific decisions and safeguard natural resources for human survival from images of the planet that he has captured for almost 50 years. With the idea of ​​contributing more than 700 photographs daily, NASA launched Landsat 9 into space this Monday, which will accompany Landsat 8 in an orbit about 438 miles (705 kilometers) from Earth to make complete records of the planet between the two. eight days. “This is such a rich form of data,” underlined Home Secretary Deb Haaland minutes before takeoff, which occurred around 2:12 p.m. EDT (12:02 p.m. EDT) on Monday, as scheduled. The images from Landsat 9, a 5,981-pound (2,713-kilo) satellite, “will help tremendously to guide us,” the secretary emphasized. He explained that this information is used to make decisions about the daily lives of people in the midst of the “climate crisis” and its impacts with worse hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters. Manufactured by the Northrop Grumman company, this observer took off today powered by an Atlas V rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) company from the Vandenberg Space Force Base (California). The images you take will add to an archive of more than 9 million Landsat records, which have witnessed Earth change as part of a NASA program in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS). “The way I think about it is that it’s almost like a painting. Our research is the paint. Our Landsat is the canvas,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for Science of the program. CLIMATE CHANGE RECORD Following the launch, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson noted that the Landsat initiative is crucial to fighting climate change. “It helps farmers, scientists to understand and manage the earth’s resources and everything that is needed to sustain human life, such as food, water and forests,” he emphasized. He stressed that the Landsat Program, which began in 1972, “sets a long-term record for our planet and allows us to track the changes and impacts of climate change.” For Nelson the idea is to develop “the capacity so that we can really measure what is happening.” “This record helps us understand not only that (climate) change is happening, but how fast and if it is accelerating, and what it means for humans,” said Karen St. Germain, from the division of Earth Science from NASA. Today’s weather conditions allowed the launch of the new satellite, with improved technology and resolution, despite the presence of clouds, haze and even smoke from forest fires before take-off, NASA explained during the broadcast. The agency detailed that the rocket’s upper stage “achieved the desired near-polar solar synchronous orbit for Landsat 9 within just over 16 minutes of flight,” after which it was ready to the other side of Earth to release the spacecraft. IMPROVEMENTS TO WATER ANALYSIS With almost 50 years of existence and available to the public for free, the Landsat program has generated images “continuously and uninterruptedly” of the Earth, Laura Lorenzi, a scientist at the POT. This has made it possible “to understand what changes our planet has had, be it due to natural or induced causes,” he added. Tracking which crops to grow, the deforestation, how much forest fires are burning, the availability of drinking water from lakes like Erie or even the “magic” of knowing how much water the crops are using are just some of the keys provided. by these satellites, according to the oceanographer. Lorenzi also highlighted that the new satellite will deepen the understanding of the coastal zones and the surfaces of the oceans, lakes and reservoirs thanks to an additional band that allows us to see in the blue spectrum. The expert explained that before Landsat 8, launched in 2013, the images showed the bodies of water as a “black spot”, which made it impossible to analyze these surfaces, although they did provide information on the deterioration of the reefs. This new observatory has a Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) to calculate soil moisture and detect plant health, and the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) sensor, which provides data on the portions of the visible spectrum, near infrared and short wave infrared. (c) EFE Agency


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