Mosaic of Antarctica to revolutionize research about its landscape

November 28th, 2007 - 2:00 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Nov 28 (ANI): A team of researchers have unveiled a new map of Antarctica that is expected to revolutionize research of the continent’s frozen landscape.
The research for the map has been carried out by NASA, the US Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation and the British Antarctic survey.
Known as the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, this map is a realistic, nearly cloudless satellite view of the continent at a resolution 10 times greater than ever before with images captured by the NASA-built Landsat 7 satellite. With the unprecedented ability to see features half the size of a basketball court, the mosaic offers the most geographically accurate, true-color, high-resolution views of Antarctica possible.
To construct the new Antarctic map, researchers pieced together more than a thousand images from three years of Landsat satellite observations. The resulting mosaic gives researchers and the public a new way to explore Antarctica through a free, public-access Web portal. Eight different versions of the full mosaic are available to download.
The images made available through the satellite don’t just give a snapshot, they provide a time-lapse historical record of how Antarctica has changed and will enable researchers to continue to watch changes unfold.
“This mosaic of images opens up a window to the Antarctic that we just haven’t had before,” said Robert Bindschadler, chief scientist of the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “It will open new windows of opportunity for scientific research as well as enable the public to become much more familiar with Antarctica and how scientists use imagery in their research,” he added.
Researchers can use the detailed map to better plan scientific expeditions. The mosaic’s higher resolution gives researchers a clearer view over most of the continent to help interpret changes in land elevation in hard-to-access areas. Scientists also think the true-color mosaic will help geologists better map various rock formations and types.
The series of Landsat satellites have provided the longest, continuous global record of land surface and its historical changes in existence. Prior to these satellite views, researchers had to rely on airplanes and survey ships to map Antarctica’s ice-covered terrain.
But images from the Landsat program, now managed by the U.S. Geological Survey, led to more precise and efficient research results as the resolution of digital images improved over the years with upgraded instruments on each new Earth-observing satellite.
“We have significantly improved our ability to extract useful information from satellites as embodied in this Antarctic mosaic project,” said Ray Byrnes, liaison for satellite missions at the U.S. Geological Survey. (ANI)

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