40 Years Of Earth's Changing Landscape From Space

Landsat

Photo: NASA

The Landsat satellites have been beaming back stunning pictures of Earth from space for 40 years.The joint program between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey is the world’s longest-running record of Earth observations from space.  

The first satellite was launched on July 23, 1972. The seventh and youngest satellite took flight in 1999.  

The detailed images allow scientists to analyse changes in Earth’s landscape and monitor weather events, natural phenomenons, and man-made changes.  

NASA has pulled together some of the best pictures, posted to Flickr, to celebrate the milestone. But there are countless more visually stunning images available on the Landsat website.  

Countless lakes, sloughs, and ponds reminiscent of blood vessels are scattered throughout the Yukon Delta in southwest Alaska. It's one of the largest river deltas in the world.

Landsat captured this image of inundated patches of Lake Eyre in Australia in 2006. Lake Eyre is the country's largest lake when it's full, which has only happened three times in the last 150 years.

An image acquired on June 1, 2011, shows part of a tornado track and damage in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Massive swarms of greenish phytoplankton, microscopic marine plants, swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea.

The yellow streaks in this image taken on April 8, 1985, are actually ridges of wind-blown sand from Erg Iguidi, a sand sea in Algeria.

The Mississippi, the largest river system in North America, is shown snaking through towns, fields and pastures south of Memphis, Tennessee.

A false-colour image of croplands near Garden City, Kansas shows red circles of healthy vegetation made possible by centre pivot irrigation systems.

The Columbia Glacier in Prince William Sound is one of the most rapidly changing glaciers in the world. The mountain glacier, which once extended all the way out to Heather Island has retreated more than 12 miles in the last three decades. In this image, captured in May 2011, snow and ice is cyan, vegetation is green and the ocean is dark blue.

This image of Mount St. Helens was taken on Aug. 22, 1999, 20 years after a massive eruption that caused billions of dollars of damage and killed 57 people. The crater is a the centre of the image. Shades of white and grey show still barren areas.

The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, is now 25 per cent of its original size. The image below was taken in 2010.

An artist's rendition of the next Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission that will launch in Feb. 2013.

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