The Spacecraft Tarot: Landsat

Temperance teaches us how to strike a balance.

Landsat not only exemplifies temperance in its fifty-year history of gradual improvements and enhanced observations, it also calls for our societal need of temperance in our daily lives.

The Earthrise photo captured by the Apollo 8 crew as they orbited the Moon on Dec. 24, 1968. Image Credit: NASA
The ERTS satellite before launch on July 23, 1972. Image Credit: NASA
This Landsat 8 image from April, 2019 captures the aftermath of an eruption from the Shiveluch Volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Image Credit: Lauren Dauphin, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview.

Today, scientists all over the world have free access to over fifty years of data to assist in a diversity of different research applications.

This Landsat 8 image from Sept. 26, 2017, captures an algal bloom in Lake Erie. Image Credit: Joshua Stevens / NASA Earth Observatory using Landsat 8 data from the U.S. Geological Survey

Today, Landsat data does not cease to find useful applications. Imaging hurricanes, forest fires, droughts, volcano eruptions, and disease outbreaks from space can assist disaster responses by pointing recovery efforts in the right direction or providing communities with up-to-date information.

This Landsat 8 image captures several fires near the border of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil in August 2019. Image Credit: Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Temperance encourages us to seek accurate information, make science-based decisions, and practice balance wherever you can.

This Landsat 8 image from Jan. 2016 captures the Larsen Ice Shelf along the northeastern coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet. Image Credit: Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

aka Thalia Patrinos. Science writer by day, fire dancer by night. Views are my own.

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