Landsat 9: NASA’s ‘new eye in the sky’ that will help study climate change 

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What is the news? 

Recently, a NASA satellite was successfully launched the earth monitoring satellite, Landsat 9. It is a joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS). 

The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972. Since then, Landsat satellites have collected images of our planet and helped understand how land usage has changed over the decades. Images have also been used to study the health of forests, coral reefs, monitor water quality and melting glaciers.

How is Landsat 9 diff from prev Landsats?

Landsat 9 carries instruments similar to the other Landsat satellites, but it is the most technologically advanced satellite of its generation. It can see more colour shades with greater depths than the previous satellites. It can help scientists capture more details about our ever-changing planet. 

What is the significance of LanSat?

 Landsat 9 will help make science-based decisions on key issues such as impacts of wildfire, coral reef degradation, the retreat of glaciers, and deforestation. 

How will the satellite help monitor climate change?

If a forest is affected by drought, it will be seen in Landsat images and can help the researchers decode the areas at risk.

Similarly during a wildfire, the Landsat images will capture the plumes of smoke and help study the extent of a burning.

The satellite images can also help recovery experts plan sites for replanting.

Landsat images can also help identify water bodies affected by potentially harmful algal blooms. According to NASA, scientists are now developing computer programs that would use Landsat and other satellite data to automatically warn lake recreation managers when blooms pop up.

Landsat images have helped glaciologists study the melting ice sheets of the Antarctic and Arctic regions. The images can help track cracks in the glaciers, movement of glaciers, and decode how further global warming will impact them

Source: This post is based on the article “Landsat 9: NASA’s ‘new eye in the sky’ that will help study climate change ” published in The Indian Express on 29th Sep 2021. 

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