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Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

Mountains that were beneath the sea now exposed in Oman

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

The mountains of northeastern Oman are rugged, dry, and as much as 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level. Yet millions of years ago, parts of these mountains were at the bottom of the sea. Actually, they were beneath it.


Global warming increases possibility of heat extremes

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

According to several top scientists, the March heat wave that has shattered records across a wide swath of the U.S. bears some of the hallmarks of global warming.

In email conversations, those same scientific researchers who specialize in studying the role climate change plays in influencing individual extreme events — a burgeoning field known as  “extreme event attribution” — said global warming may have made March’s soaring temperatures more likely to occur, although they add that natural variability has played a key role as well.

Areas with warmer than average temperatures are shown in red; near-normal temperatures are white; and areas that were cooler than the 2000-2011 base period are blue. Photograph: Terra/MODIS/NASA


“Change matters” viewer from Esri displays Vegas sprawl

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

The Change Matters viewer from Esri can show how your area has changed over a given time period, say for instance, from 1988 to 1990. Las Vegas is known for its phenomenal sprawl over the past four decades.  Time-lapseimages from the Landsat earth monitoring satellites reveal in false-color, multispectral imagery how urban sprawl has stretched out from Nevada’s “Sin City” over the past four decades.

This latest video was posted by NASA in honor of the 28th anniversary of Landsat 5’s launch on March 1, but the pictures actually go back to 1972, when the Landsat program began.

OGC Calls for Participation in Major Interoperability Testbed – OWS-9 RFQ

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) calls for participation in a major interoperability testbed, OWS-9. OWS-9 builds on the outcomes of prior OGC initiatives.

Responses are due by 5 pm EST on April 6, 2012.

A bidders’ teleconference will be held on March 9, 2012. More information at the URL below.

The Point of Contact is Nadine Alameh:

The OWS-9 sponsors are:

  • AGC (Army Geospatial Center, US Army Corps of Engineers)
  • CREAF-GeoViQua-EC (CREAF is the European Center for Research in Ecology and Forestry Applications)
  • FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration)
  • GeoConnections – Natural Resources Canada
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • NGA (US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency)
  • USGS (US Geological Survey)


OGC testbed

Underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro continues

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The underwater volcanic eruption off El Hierro Island continues four months after it began.

Collected on February 10, 2012, this natural color satellite image shows the site of the eruption, near the fishing village of La Restinga. The beautiful aquamarine water indicates high concentrations of volcanic material. Right above the vent a patch of brown water  can resemble a turbulent hot tub when the eruption is strongest.

This image was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) aboard the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. The eruption is just off the southern coast of El Hierro, the youngest of the Canary Islands. El Hierro is about 460 kilometers (290 miles) west of the coast of Morocco and Western Sahara.

According to El Hierro Digital measurements of the sea floor by the Instituto Oceanográfico Español showed that the volcano’s summit is now only 120 meters (390 feet) beneath the ocean surface—10 meters (30 feet) higher than it was in mid January. The height of the erupting cone is about 210 meters (690 feet) from the former ocean bottom, with a total volume over 145 million cubic meters (512 million cubic feet) of new material.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using EO-1 ALI data. Caption by Robert Simmon.

Laser radar image of 2010 Mexicali earthquake released

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Released by an international team of scientists is a laser-radar image of the area surrounding the site of a Magnitude 7.2 earthquake that occurred in Mexicali, Mexico, in 2010. The laser radar technique can spot surface changes of just a few centimetres; in this image the blue represents a post-quake reduction in height and red indicates an increase.


Laser radar image of Mexicali, Mexico earthquake, 2010


Drought mapping using measurements obtained from weather and research satellites

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Center for Climate Prediction holds a monthly drought briefing by teleconference to identify the latest drought areas in North America, according to  Don Comis of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS scientists, Martha Anderson and Bill Kustas, are hoping that in a year or so, data from their computer model/satellite package will give evapotranspiration (ET) maps a seat at that briefing.


Landsat 5 satellite on the blink, paves way for Landsat 8 scheduled launch 2013

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

According to a press release issued by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) November 18, the Landsat 5 Mission may no longer remain in operation. The reason for this is the USGS has stopped acquiring images from the 27-year-old Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite due to a rapidly degrading electronic component.

A Landsat 5 image of the Wallow Fire acquired on June 15, 2011. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey

A Landsat 5 image of the Wallow Fire acquired on June 15, 2011. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey

When Landsat 5 was launched in 1984 it was designed to last 3 years. The USGS assumed operation of Landsat 5 in 2001 and managed to rescue the aging satellite back from the brink of total failure on several occasions following the malfunction of key subsystems.

“This anticipated decline of Landsat 5 provides confirmation of the importance of the timely launch of the next Landsat mission and the need for an operational and reliable National Land Imaging System,” stated Anne Castle, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the U.S. Department of the Interior. “The USGS is committed to maintaining the unique long term imaging database that the Landsat program provides.”

The amplifier that is in jeopardy is essential for transmitting land-surface images from the Landsat 5 satellite to ground receiving stations in the U.S. and around the world. In the past 10 days, amplifier problems have significantly diminished the satellite’s ability to down load images.

Now USGS engineers have suspended imaging activities for 90 days so that they can explore possible options for restoring satellite-to-ground image transmissions.

The USGS-operated Landsat 7 is actively in orbit collecting global imagery. Launched in 1999 with a 5-year design life, Landsat 7 has experienced an instrument anomaly which reduces the amount of data collected per image. A new satellite, Landsat 8, currently named the Landsat Data Continuity Mission, is now scheduled to be launched in January 2013.

Creation of new iceberg captured by aerial imagery

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

On October 14, 2011, scientists participating in NASA’s IceBridge mission, saw a huge crack in the ice running about 29 kilometers (18 miles) as they flew across Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier in a DC-8 research plane.

“The rift was 80 meters (260 feet) wide on average, and 50 to 60 meters (165 to 195 feet) deep. It marks the moment of creation for a new iceberg that should eventually span about 880 square kilometers (340 square miles) once it breaks loose from the glacier.”

Witness the Birth of an Iceberg
Earth Imaging Journal

Crowdsourcing, or, 200,000 heads are better than one

Monday, October 24th, 2011

A think tank is usually comprised of a group of people hand selected to solve a particular problem or to do research on a problem. We don’t usually open up the think tank to just anyone.

Crowdsourcing opens up a question or inquiry or research to everyone, or perhaps to a select special interest group, those who can offer authoritative data. People are drawn to contribute knowledge – whether it be of the pothole status in a given neighborhood, crime rates, weather patterns, or crisis intervention. This knowledge has very often not had a home in the past because there was nowhere to put it, or it might have to be vetted first (made into authoritative geodata) before being committed to the total database of knowledge on the given subject.


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