Navigation Links
NASA's Landsat satellites see Texas crop circles

A water-rich polka dot pattern takes over the traditional rectangular patchwork of fields in this time series animation of 40 years of Landsat images. In the dry Texas panhandle near the town of Dalhart, this transformation is due to center-pivot irrigation, a farming method that improves water distribution to fields. It was invented by farmer Frank Zybach in 1949.

Center-pivot irrigation works by pumping water from the center of the field through a long pipe that rotates above growing crops like the hand of a clock. Evenly spaced sprinklers along the pipe deliver water with minimal loss to evaporation. Farmers like center-pivot irrigation because it works with a variety of soil types and it can be used on slopes where other gravity-driven forms of irrigation cannot.

As it caught on in the United States and abroad, it revolutionized agriculture since the system can be adapted to a wide variety of terrains and is more efficient with water and labor than other forms of irrigation. Together, all types of irrigation water 20 percent of cultivated fields worldwide, and those fields produce about 40 percent of the global food supply.

In this time series animation, vegetation appears red and the bare soil of fallow fields or sparsely vegetated grasslands appear white to green. The blue-gray X near the center of the images marks the town of Dalhart.

This series uses data from four Landsat satellites. Shown in this false color composite is light reflected from the near-infrared, red, and green regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (bands 4, 2, and 1 from the Multispectral Scanner Systems (MSS) aboard Landsat 1, 2, and 4, and bands 4, 3, and 2 from the Thematic Mapper (TM) aboard Landsat 5).

The Landsat satellites have provided scientific data on Earth's land surfaces for the past 40 years: Landsat 1 from 1972 to 1978; Landsat 2 from 1975 to 1982; Landsat 3 from 1978 to 1983; Landsat 4 from 1982 to 1993; and Landsat 5 for a record-breaking 28 years from 1984 to what was likely its last data downlink in 2011.

Currently, Landsat 7, launched in 1999 is still providing data. The data from Landsat satellites has been instrumental in increasing our understanding of forest health, storm damage, agricultural trends, urban growth, and many other ongoing changes to our land.

NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) jointly manage Landsat, and the USGS preserves a 40-year archive of Landsat images that is freely available data over the Internet.

The next Landsat satellite, now known as the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and later to be called Landsat 8, is scheduled for launch in January 2013.


Contact: Ellen Gray
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related biology news :

1. Landsat 5 satellite helps emergency managers fight largest fire in Arizona history
2. Landsat image maps aid fire recovery efforts
3. Satellites helping aid workers in Honduras
4. Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands
5. ESA satellites focusing on the Arctic
6. ESA satellites flying in formation
7. Satellites search out South Pole snowfields
8. European satellites provide new insight into ozone-depleting species
9. Satellites show how Earth moved during Italy quake
10. Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites
11. 2 NASA Satellites Capture Last 3 Days of Eyjafjallajokulls Ash Plume
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/29/2016)... 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: ... SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort ... variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting ... from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita ... miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of ... now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... YORK , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign ... to envision new ways to harness living systems and ... Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City ... than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: