The Landsat Project, a joint venture between NASA and the US Geological Survey, is the longest continuous space recording of the Earth in existence. A total of eight Landsat satellites have been launched into space since 1972, and a ninth is expected to be launched in September.
During that time, satellites have captured more than 9 million images of the planet’s surface, which have been used in more than 18,000 scientific papers, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Landsat project, the Earth Observatory is organizing a public competition to choose the best Landsat images of all time.
People can choose their favorites from 32 final images – so that’s exactly what we did.
Winds trigger pond growth
This striking image of the Atchafalaya Delta in Louisiana was taken by Landsat 8 on December 1, 2016.
This is a false color image, which means the colors have been altered, which “accentuates the difference between land and water, while still allowing viewers to observe waterborne sediment “, according to the Earth Observatory.
It is one of 10,000 Landsat images of the region taken between 1982 and 2016, which were used in a study published in Geophysical Research Letters that examined the role of wind in the expansion of ponds in the Delta Plain. of Mississippi.
Where the dunes end
This image, captured by Landsat 8 on November 13, 2019, shows the stark color contrast between the Namib Sand Sea, the world’s only coastal desert, covering over 26,000 square kilometers, and the rocky mountains of Namib-Naukluft Park , both in Namibia.
The sand appears an orange-red color due to the presence of iron oxide. The flood-prone Kuiseb River prevents sand from spilling into the mountains, according to the Earth Observatory.
Yukon-Kuskokwim in colorful transition
This image of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, where the Yukon River empties into the Bering Sea in Alaska, was taken on May 19, 2021 by Landsat 8. The terrestrial colors have been enhanced in this photo: green highlights the area of living vegetation. ; yellow is bare soil; and light brown is the dead vegetation.
“The Yukon Delta is an exceptionally vibrant landscape, whether viewed from the ground, from the air, or in low Earth orbit,” Gerald Frost, scientist at ABR, Inc – Environmental Research and Services in Alaska, told the Observatory. of the earth.
From Russia with questions
Landsat 8 captured this photo of bizarre ripples in the hills surrounding the Markha River in northern Russia on October 29, 2020. The alternating light and dark stripes are visible throughout the year but are more pronounced in winter.
Scientists are not sure exactly why this model exists. It could have emerged from the constant freezing and melting of the permafrost or from some kind of unique erosion from precipitation or snowmelt, but NASA remains uncertain, Live Science previously reported.
Ginseng farms in northern China
On September 25, 2017, Landsat 8 captured this image of blue, purple and yellow structures covering large areas of farmland in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.
The structures are plastic shade covers used to grow ginseng – a slow growing root plant that looks a lot like ginger but cannot survive in direct sunlight. In many Asian countries, ginseng is believed to have a wide range of medicinal properties, and growing the plant has become a multi-billion dollar business, according to the Earth Observatory.
Painting the hills of Pennsylvania
This awe-inspiring image combines a satellite image of Folded Mountains – warped mountains formed at the border between two tectonic plates – in central Pennsylvania, taken by Landsat 8 on November 9, 2020, with a digital elevation model to highlight the topography of the region.
The mountains are part of a unique geologic region of the Appalachian Mountains known as the Valley and Ridge Province, which stretches from New York to Alabama. As well as showing the unusual shapes of the mountains, this naturally colored image also reveals the fall color palette created when leaves turn red and start to fall from deciduous trees, according to the Earth Observatory.
Jason and the Bloomonauts
This stunning, natural color image of an algae bloom surrounding the western Jason Islands, an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, was taken by Landsat 8 on October 18, 2020.
Milky-blue eddies are caused by the rapid growth of photosynthetic algae, which thrive in nutrient-rich waters that have been enriched by the Malvinas Current – a fallout from the Southern Ocean circumpolar current, which draws nutrients from the ocean. deep, according to the Earth Observatory.
This striking aerial photo of the blood red Lake Natron in Tanzania was taken by Landsat 8 on March 6, 2017. Lake Natron is an alkaline lake. The dramatic color is fueled by molten mixtures of sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate salts from nearby volcanoes that enter the water via hot springs.
With average temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) and less than 19.7 inches (500 millimeters) of precipitation per year, it is one of the harshest environments on Earth, according to the Earth Observatory. .
Ice art in the Sannikov Strait
This fascinating photo of the Sannikov Strait – a body of water sandwiched between the New Siberian islands north of mainland Russia – was taken by Landsat 8 on June 5, 2016.
The strait connects the Laptev Sea in the west to the Siberian Sea in the east; the strait remains covered in ice for most of the year, Live Science previously reported. This photo shows the ice cap breaking during the summer melt and creating a picturesque panorama of icy puzzle pieces.
Where the batteries start
This colorful set of cuboids found in the Salar de Atacama – a salt flat surrounded by mountains in Chile – is actually the largest lithium factory in the world, photographed by Landsat 8 on November 4, 2018.
Lithium is the main component of the batteries needed to power our cars, cell phones, laptops and other rechargeable gadgets.
This plant pumps lithium-rich brine below the surface and diverts it into evaporation ponds, where the sun evaporates the water, leaving pure lithium. The different colors are the result of the different stages of the evaporation process, according to the Earth Observatory.
This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.