Landstat 8 is launching this week. The stakes are very high because Landstat 7 is running out of fuel, and could possibly go offline. Landstat 8 will provide higher resolution images of the earth. The satellite project has provided scientists, researchers, private businesses, and governments with incredible wealth of data.
Landsat data has become a fundamental data source for addressing basic science questions. It is a valuable resource for decision makers in the fields of agriculture, forestry, land use, water resources and natural resource exploration.
Landsat has also played an increasing role in diverse applications such as human population census, growth of global urbanization and deletion of coastal wetlands.
As human populations increasingly dominate the Earth’s land areas, understanding changes in land cover and land use from year to year becomes increasingly important for both decision makers and human occupants of the Earth.
I’ll be writing more about Landstat over the coming months. It is one of the most important systems in shaping climate adaptation policy and other environmental decision making.
You can read the history of Landstat at NASA.
More on the new launch, via Wired.