Earth monitoring satellite Landsat 9 goes into orbit to monitor climate impacts

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The latest in a series of US satellites that record human and natural impacts on the Earth’s surface has been launched into orbit from California, to provide continuous observations in the age of climate change.

Landsat 9 was successfully transported into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that lifted off from the Misty Space Force Base at Vandenberg.

A NASA and US Geological Survey project, Landsat 9 will work with its predecessor, Landsat 8, to extend a nearly 50-year record of land and coastal observations that began with the launch of the first Landsat in 1972.

The Earth surveillance satellite will follow the orbital path of Landsat 7, which will be decommissioned, and carry an imaging sensor and a thermal sensor to measure surface temperatures.

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Landsat has provided the longest continuous record of observations of Earth and landscape changes from space, from the growth of cities to the movements of glaciers.

Home Secretary Deb Haaland said the program provides “a rich form of data” that helps people in their daily lives and is vital in dealing with climate change.

“We are at the heart of the climate crisis right now, we see it every day – drought, wildfires, hurricanes, Hurricane Ida which devastated parts of the South and reached New England,” Ms. Haaland said. .

“Images like the one Landsat 9 will bring back will help guide us in our approach to climate change, ensuring that we can make the best possible decisions, so that people have water in the future, that we can grow our food in the future.

The Landsat program has amassed more than 9 million multispectral images of land and coastal regions of the Earth, said Jeff Masek, Landsat 9 project scientist.

“By using this record, we can really document and understand the changes that have taken place in the Earth’s environment during this time period due to human activities as well as natural events,” Mr. Masek said.

The Landsat 9 satellite contains a thermal sensor to measure surface temperatures. (

Bill Ingalls / NASA via AP

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Information is widely used to understand and manage the Earth’s resources.

“Landsat is our best source for understanding tropical deforestation rates as well as other forest dynamics such as disturbances caused by hurricanes, forest fires, insect outbreaks, as well as the recovery from these disturbances over time. time, ”Masek said.

The satellite is also crucial for monitoring agriculture and food security.

“We can also look at the water consumption by crops.”

The liftoff from Landsat 9 was Vandenberg’s 2,000th launch since 1958.

Located on the Pacific coast northwest of Los Angeles, its position is ideal for testing ballistic missiles and putting satellites into polar orbit.

PA


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