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NASA launches Landsat 9 satellite to boost climate change monitoring

NASA’s Landsat 9 satellite was successfully launched Monday from Vandenberg Space Force base in California. The satellite will monitor the Earth’s land surface and provide data to aid in planning for climate change.

The satellite is operating as expected, NASA said in a statement. It took off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 3E at 2:12 p.m. EST, after which the Landsat 9 observatory successfully separated from the vehicle.

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The launch marks almost 50 years of Landsat’s presence in space. The first launch took place in 1972 – since then a Landsat has always remained in orbit. Landsat 9 will join previously launched Landsat 8 to collect images across Earth every eight days. NASA said the images are helping research on monitoring forests, agriculture, water quality, the health of coral reef habitats and the behavior of glaciers.

“As the impacts of the climate crisis intensify in the United States and around the world, Landsat 9 will provide data and images to help make scientific decisions on key issues, including water use, the impacts of forest fires, degradation of coral reefs, glaciers and ice. the retreat of the plateaus and tropical deforestation, ”said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

NASA, in a statement, said the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) instruments on Landsat 9 can capture data over 185 km in sufficient detail to allow identification. of individual crop fields in the United States.

“The instruments onboard Landsat 9 – the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2) – measure 11 wavelengths of light reflected or radiated from the Earth’s surface, in the visible spectrum as well as other wavelengths beyond what our eyes can detect. As the satellite orbits, these instruments will capture scenes over a swath of 185 kilometers. Each pixel of these The images represent an area approximately 30 feet in diameter, about the size of a baseball infield. At this high resolution, resource managers will be able to identify most of the cultivated fields in the United States, “he said. NASA said in a statement, adding that it was a joint mission with the US Geological Survey.

The recent launch is growing in importance in light of the heightened awareness of climate change incidents and the increase in extreme weather events such as forest fires, floods and melting glaciers.

US Vice President Kamala Harris wrote on Twitter that Landsat 9 will help measure the effects of climate change.

“? Today’s launch will continue five decades of continuous Earth observation by Landsat to monitor, understand and manage the earth’s resources needed to sustain human life and measure the effects of climate change, ”Harris wrote on Twitter.

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