Science

Celebrate 50 years of Landsat with these stunning images (gallery)

(Image credit: NASA/USGS)

Landsat 1 was launched 50 years ago on July 23, 1972 aboard a Delta 900 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Since then, Landsat’s fleet of satellites has grown to eight, revolutionizing the way we see our planet.

With 50 years of continuous observation of the Earth, Landsat provides us with a global view of how the Earth is changing, whether it be natural causes such as earthquakes or anthropogenic changes such as urbanization.

Landsat can document everything from retreating glaciers to how much sediment is flowing down rivers. It even helps the USDA keep track of what crops farmers are growing, field by field!

Earth observation satellites continue to observe the Earth from above, and to celebrate Landsat’s 50th anniversary, we’ll take a look at some of the best images ever taken by the watchful fleet.

See also: NASA launched Landsat 9 Earth observation satellite (photo)

Taken by Landsat 8 on July 3, 2014, this striking image shows Mount Taranaki, located in the heart of New Zealand’s Egmont National Park. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the snow-covered dormant volcano began forming about 70,000 years ago and last erupted in 1755. (will open in a new tab).

The Landsat image clearly shows the contrast between the protected dense dark green forests surrounding the volcano and the once forested pastures shown here in light brown and green.

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