First images from the LDCM
March 25, 2013 11:57 AM   Subscribe

This week, the first images of Earth from the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) were released by NASA. The images show the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado.

About LDCM:
The Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is NASA’s eighth satellite in the Landsat series and continues the Landsat program’s critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the resources needed for human sustainment such as food, water and forests.
About LDCM's instruments:
The Operational Land Imager (OLI), built by the Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, will measure in the visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared portions of the spectrum. Its images will have 15-meter (49 ft.) panchromatic and 30-meter multi-spectral spatial resolutions along a 185 km (115 miles) wide swath, covering wide areas of the Earth's landscape while providing sufficient resolution to distinguish features like urban centers, farms, forests and other land uses. The entire Earth will fall within view once every 16 days due to LDCM’s near-polar orbit.


The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) will measure land surface temperature in two thermal bands with a new technology that applies quantum physics to detect heat.

TIRS was added to the satellite mission when it became clear that state water resource managers rely on the highly accurate measurements of Earth's thermal energy obtained by LDCM's predecessors, Landsat 5 and Landsat 7, to track how land and water are being used. With nearly 80 percent of the fresh water in the Western U.S. being used to irrigate crops, TIRS will become an invaluable tool for managing water consumption.
posted by tocts (5 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
As someone who relies on LANDSAT data - the whole archive of it going back to the 1970s - this makes me extremely happy. LANDSAT is a great resource.

Now lets hope they get some replacement MODIS satellites up there before the current ones break.
posted by Jimbob at 1:23 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aside from all the scientific and practical value, it's just plain cool. I love that I can show my son what places he's actually been look like from space. Especially since I can see my house from here (if I'm interpreting land marks correctly).
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:19 PM on March 25, 2013

I can see my house! OK, well I can see the cross street where I know my house must be. Apparently I'm living in a quarter-pixel shack.
posted by amorphatist at 5:03 PM on March 25, 2013

As a New Englander, let me just say, once again, that roads that straight are CRAZY.
posted by maryr at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

So when can I fill up my handheld GPS receiver with these, now that my subscription to the DeLorme imagery servers has run out?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:05 PM on March 25, 2013

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