NASA and USGS began the Earth As Art project at the dawn of the millennium after scientists saw the beauty in the visual data they were collecting. Garnered for scientific purposes, the images reveal areas of the electromagnetic spectrum undetected by human eye.
NASA and USGS collated the photographs to educate the public on the importance of satellite surveillance.
The Landsat time series is so convenient and easy to use and has triggered science that was not possible a few decades ago
Professor Zhe Zhu
NASA wrote in a statement: The Landsat program offers the longest continuous global record of the Earths surface; it continues to deliver visually stunning and scientifically valuable images of our planet.
In 1975, NASA Administrator Dr James Fletcher predicted if one space age development would save the world, it would be Landsat and its successor satellites.
Since the early 1970s, Landsat has continuously and consistently archived images of Earth; this unparalleled data archive offers scientists the ability to assess changes in the planets landscape.
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For over four decades, the Landsat program has collected spectral information from Earths surface, creating a historical archive unmatched in quality, detail, coverage, and length.
Dr Darrel Williams, a Landsat 7 Project Scientist added: It was the granddaddy of them all, as far as starting the trend of repetitive, calibrated observations of the Earth at a spatial resolution where one can detect mans interaction with the environment.
Landsat sensors have a moderate spatial-resolution, meaning individual houses cannot be seen on a Landsat image, but larger man-made objects such as roads can.
This is an important spatial resolution because it is coarse enough for global coverage, yet detailed enough to characterise human-scale processes such as urban growth.
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A stunning image shows the skies above the Amazon churning with clouds and storms, making the basin one of the most difficult places for scientists to map and monitor.
One of the most recent images reveals in stunning detail the blue geese breeding ground on the southern coast of Baffin Island, in modern Nunavut territory.
Another shows a portion of the Amur River, the worlds tenth longest, flowing east along the Chinese-Russian border.
A false-colour image reveals a shrinking glacier, threatening a popular hiking area in Europes Mount Blanc.
Another shows the completion of one the worlds longest bridges, the 30 mile (48km) Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway in Kuwait.
Zhe Zhu, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment at UConn, said about the project: The Landsat time series is so convenient and easy to use and has triggered science that was not possible a few decades ago.
Bruce Cook, NASA Landsat 9 deputy project scientist, said: Landsats thermal data is critical for tracking water use in the western United States, where rainfall can be short in supply and managing water resources is critical to ensuring a sustainable supply for farmers, cities, and natural ecosystems.
And Dr Stephen Sagar, Aquatic Remote Sensing Project Leader added: The Landsat archive enables us to develop products that tackle problems and address issues at a continental scale.
For a country the size of Australia, this would simply not be possible without free and open access to the full time-series that the Landsat archive provides.
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