Science

Nasa’s Landsat-9, the most powerful Earth observation satellite, is ready to launch tonight

Nasa will launch one of its generally amazing and advanced satellites to monitor Earth on Monday, the Landsat-9 will hitch a ride on the United Launch Alliance rocket. The takeoff is scheduled for 2.12 pm EDT (11.42 pm IST) from the Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Once into orbit, Landsat-9, alongside its sister satellite Landsat-8, will gather pictures from across the planet every eight days to assist with monitor the Earth’s health and assist individuals with overseeing fundamental resources including crops, irrigation water, and forests. The satellite will orbit the planet every 99 minutes and complete 14 orbits every day around the planet.

Nasa has said that the Images from Landsat 9 will be added to almost 50 years of free and publicly accessible information from the mission the longest information record of Earth’s landscapes taken from space. “Landsat’s medium-resolution imaging capabilities allow researchers to harmonize the images to detect the footprint of human activities and their impact on our home planet over the decades,” the space agency said.

WHAT IS LANDSAT-9?

Landsat-9 is an advanced satellite, ninth in the series, which will monitor key natural and economic resources from orbit. The satellite will be managed by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center and will carry two key instruments locally available the Operational Land Imager 2 (OLI-2), which gathers pictures of Earth’s landscapes is apparent, near-infrared and shortwave infrared light, and the Thermal Infrared Sensor 2 (TIRS-2), which estimates the temperature of land surfaces.

Landsat-9 is part of a joint mission by Nasa and the US Geological Survey, which for more than five decades has helped in understanding the working of the planet and the fast changes it goes through. Landsat series has helped in measuring a few changes including the speed of Antarctic glaciers, track water use in crop fields, monitor deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

At present, Nasa is working the Landsat-7 and Landsat-8 in an orbital pattern every 16 days, with the two spacecraft offset so that each spot on Earth is estimated by either at every eight days. “As the Landsat satellites orbit, the instruments capture scenes across a swath of the planet that is 185 kilometers wide. Each pixel in these images is 30-meters across, which is about the size of a baseball infield, or — more important for resource management — an average US crop field,” Nasa said.

Nasa first launched Landsat in 1972 under the name of Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) which captured 8,000,000 pictures of the planet. “Landsat satellites give us a global perspective of how Earth is changing. That change could be due to natural causes like earthquakes, or due to human-caused drivers like greenhouse gas emissions that lead to warming temperatures on a global scale,” the organization said.

MONITORING PLANETARY CHANGES CRUCIAL

With the Earth getting warmer and nations scrambling to keep it from further harming, watching the progressions from above will give a comprehensive perspective on the developments. With climate change roaring across the world and impacts being felt in each corner, the satellite will help in monitoring changes to Earth’s land surfaces at a scale that shows the natural and human-caused change.

In the meantime, the uninhibitedly accessible data from the satellite won’t only guide government authorities yet, in addition, assist with recognizing the type and distribution of significant crops across the globe, measure how agriculture is extending or contracting in remote regions, and monitor crop health and the condition of pastures and rangelands.

“This information is used to predict levels of food production, produce commodity forecasts used by the US Department of Agriculture, help farmers make planting decisions, and anticipate global or regional food shortages to aid in relief planning,” Nasa said, adding that data will also help scientists map Earth’s forests.

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