Nasa launches latest Landsat 9 to monitor Earth’s surface

Nasa launched the latest mission in its 50-year-old unbroken series of satellites that monitor Earth's surface.
Landsat 9 was lifted atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at Vandenbergs space launch facility 3E at 19.12 BST (14.12 ET) on September 27th.

The US Geological Survey and Nasa jointly developed the Landsat program. It continuously captures images of the Earth's surface in order to monitor agricultural productivity, forest health, and water quality.

1972 saw the launch of the first Landsat satellite. Scientists can use the decades-long history and images to help them understand land use changes as well as natural changes caused by climate change.

Landsat 9, which is still in orbit and Landsat 8, will allow Landsat 9 to capture the entire Earth's surface every eight days.

Landsat 9 has two instruments: an infrared sensor and an optical camera. They will be able to measure heat and light reflected from the Earth's surface.

Landsat 9's image pixels cover an area of approximately 30m across, from its orbit of 705 km. This small area allows scientists to identify most US crop fields.

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