The latest in a series of US satellites that record human and natural impacts on Earth’s surface has been launched into orbit from California, to ensure continued observations in the era of climate change.
- Landsat 9’s lift-off marks the 2,000th launch from Vandenberg, California in its 50-year history
- Its image and thermal sensors will make land and coastal observations of Earth from space
- The data will be used to help people mitigate the effects of climate change
Landsat 9 was successfully carried into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that lifted off from foggy Vandenberg Space Force Base.
A project of NASA and the US Geological Survey, Landsat 9 will work with its predecessor, Landsat 8, to extend a nearly 50-year record of land and coastal region observations that began with the launch of the first Landsat in 1972.
The earth-monitoring satellite will take the orbital track of Landsat 7, which will be decommissioned, and carries an imaging sensor and thermal sensor to measure surface temperatures.
Landsat has delivered the longest continuous record of Earth observations and landscape changes from space, from the growth of cities to the movements of glaciers.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the program provides “a rich form of data” that helps people in their everyday lives and is vital in dealing with climate change.
“We’re in the thick of the climate crisis right now, we see that every day — drought, wildfires, hurricanes, Hurricane Ida that devastated parts of the South and went all the way up to New England,” Ms Haaland said.
“Images like the ones that Landsat 9 will bring back to us will help to guide us in how we are approaching climate change, working to make sure that we can make the best decisions possible, so that folks have water into the future, that we can grow our food into the future.”
The Landsat program has amassed over 9 million multispectral images of Earth’s land and coastal regions, Landsat 9…