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Landsat Celebrates 40 Years of Observing Earth | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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Landsat Celebrates 40 Years of Observing Earth

An artist's rendition of the next Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) that will launch in Feb. 2013. Credit: NASA


The Landsat program is the longest continuous global record of Earth observations from space – ever. Since its first satellite went up in the summer of 1972, Landsat has been looking at our planet. The view of Earth that this 40-year satellite program has recorded allows scientists to see, in ways they never imagined, how the Earth's surface has transformed, over time.


In the 1970s Landsat captured the first views from space of the Amazonian rainforest and continued to track the area year after year after year, giving the world an unprecedented view of systemic and rapid deforestation. This view from space let us see an activity that was taking place in an exceptionally remote part of our world. These now iconic-images of tropical deforestation spurred the global environmental community to rally in an unprecedented way, and resulted in worldwide attention and action.


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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on October 5, 2011