The NASA Space Shuttle Earth Observations Database for Global Change Science
The NASA Space Shuttle Earth Observations Database is a valuable source of data for research and reconstruction of Earth’s recent environmental history and thus for assessment of the human impact on global Earth processes. This data source, although having the longest length-of-record of any space-derived global change database, has not been fully exploited by scientists studying global changes. With the inception of NASA’s Mission to Planet Earth programme there is a need to integrate these important data into global change studies.
Global land processes such as land use, deforestation, soil and land degradation, erosion, desertification, soil salinisation, long-range dust transport, hydrological changes, and stream and reservoir sedimentation have been extensively documented during the more than 50 Space Shuttle missions flown during the past twelve years, as well as by similar baseline data acquired during the even earlier NASA manned spaceflights extending to 1961. These observations provide a unique perpective on our planetary habitat and add understanding and critically important early data points to our models of land use dynamics and their ecological implications.
This paper discusses the Space Shuttle Earth Observations database, the imaging systems utilised during Space Shuttle missions and provides a case study of an application project conducted utilising these image datasets.
KeywordsBiomass Burning Dust Mercury Transportation
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