LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A new Earth-observing satellite is set to provide another watchful eye over our planet's glaciers, forests, water resources and urban sprawl.
If all goes as planned, the Landsat satellite will be launched into orbit Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
It would be the eighth such satellite in a series designed to continuously track natural changes and society's influence on Earth's resources.
Since the maiden launch in 1972, the satellites have been providing ``uninterrupted observations,'' David Jarrett, program executive at NASA headquarters, said during a pre-launch news conference on Friday.
During the past 40 years, the Landsat satellites have been key in documenting changes to the Earth, pinpointing where droughts are occurring, how crops across the globe are faring and how erosion is affecting coastlines.
The satellites also have recorded retreating glaciers in Greenland, captured the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and recovery aftermath, tracked population growth in Phoenix and deforestation in the Amazon.
Although NASA aimed for a Monday liftoff, launch director Omar Baez said there were two remaining engineering issues to complete. It was too early to know whether that would affect the launch schedule, he said.
The newest Landsat will be the most powerful yet. Once in orbit, it will circle Earth 14 times a day.
It was expected to beam back 400 images a day to ground stations in South Dakota, Alaska and Norway. As in previous missions, the images will be freely available on the Internet.
The $855 million project is managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. The space agency developed the satellite and its two sensors, which are more sensitive than previous ones. After a checkout period in orbit, day-to-day duties will be turned over to the USGS.
The latest Landsat will build on past missions. The USGS recently retired Landsat 5, which operated since 1984 and has returned 2 1/2 million images. Landsat 7, launched in 1999, continues to operate.
나사, 지구 관측 위성 하나 더 쏘아올리기로
미국 나사는 지구관측 위성을 월요일, 캘리포니아 반덴버그 공군기지에서 발사한다고 발표했다.
이는 지구자원 등을 관찰하기 위해 발사하는 여덟번째 위성이된다.
1972년 첫 발사 이후 이 위성들은 "방해받지 않은 채 이루어지는 관측"을 담당해왔다. 어느 곳에 가뭄이 이는지, 곡식들이 어떠한 방법으로 전지구적으로 길러지고 있는지 그리고 해안의 침식들을 관찰핬던 것이다. 또한 그린랜드의 빙하나 1980년에 있었던 세인트 헬레나 화산 폭발과 복구 등에서 부터 피닉스의 인구밀도와 아마존의 사막화까지도 보여지고 있었다.
이번 프로젝트는 총 8억 5천 5백만 달러의 예산이 책정되었다.