The surface of the Earth is always changing. Some changes like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and landslides happen quickly, and other changes, such as most erosional processes, happen slowly over time. It’s often hard to see these changes from ground level. Earthshots shows you how satellite data are used to track these changes over time.
Over the course of fifty years, eight Landsat satellites have observed the Earth's surface. This storymap collection allows users to view each satellite's heritage from Landsat 1 through Landsat 9 (Landsat 6 did not achieve orbit). See first light images, significant events, and unique science for each satellite.
Landsat 7 launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 15, 1999, on a Delta II rocket. The satellite carries the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) sensor. The ETM+ provided useful scientific information about the world’s landmasses for 23 years. Landsat 7 completed its science mission on April 6, 2022.
Landsat 5 remains the only Earth-observing satellite with a Guinness World Record , holding the title for "Longest Operating Earth Observation Satellite" after servicing our planet for nearly 29 years. Launched in 1984 and retired in 2013, Landsat 5 recorded many important events, including scientific discoveries, world events, and major disasters.
The Landsat Archive Dashboard provides interactive map views of Landsat Collection 2 products per WRS-1 or WRS-2 by Path/Row. There are three Landsat archive maps: Landsat 4 – 9 daytime, Landsat 4 – 9 nighttime, and Landsat 1 – 3. A product summary statistics page is also provided for Landsat 1 – 9. Maps and the statistics page can be filtered on multiple categories.
Landsat 8 was launched on an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California on February 11, 2013. The satellite carries the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instruments.
Although only two Landsats were originally anticipated, the program’s principal scientists sought to launch a third satellite for continued coverage because they found a wide variety of applications for the data. There was also interest in advancing the sensors and improving the data.
After launch in 1975, Landsat 2 began to collect remote sensing data. Outliving its one-year design, Landsat 2 achieved seven years of operation. With two Landsats in orbit, scientists gleaned additional views of the planet.
With this uninterrupted data, the record of the Earth's land surface could always be recorded, allowing for reliable imaging for scientists, policy makers, and land managers.