Landsat 9

News: Recently, NASA has launched an earth monitoring satellite called Landsat 9 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The satellite is a joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). This satellite is referred to as NASA’s’ new eye in the sky’ that will help study climate change.

Landsat 9:

  • Landsat-9 is the continuation of a series of Earth-observing spacecraft stretching back almost 50 years.
  • The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972and since then, Landsat satellites have collected images of earth and helped understand how land usage has changed over the decades.
  • In 2008,it was decided that all Landsat images will be free and publicly available and the policy has helped scores of researchers, farmers, policy analysts, glaciologists, and seismologists. Landsat images have been used to study the health of forests, coral reefs, monitor water quality and melting glaciers.
  • The Landsat 9joins Landsat 8 that was launched in 2013 and the satellites together will collect images of Earth’s surface. It takes 8 days to capture the whole Earth.
  • Landsat 9 carries instruments similar to the other Landsat satellites, but it is the most technologically advanced satellite of its generation. The instruments aboard Landsat 9 are the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2)and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2).
    • OLI-2:It captures sunlight reflected off Earth’s surface and studies the visible, near-infrared, and short wave infrared portions of the spectrum.
    • TIRS-2:It has a four-element refractive telescope and photosensitive detectors that capture thermal radiation and help study the Earth’s surface temperature.

Along with the European Union’s Sentinel-2 satellites, the Landsat Satellite will provide better estimation of the extent of climate change.