During a span of 40 years, since 1972, the Landsat series of Earth observation satellites has become a vital reference worldwide for understanding scientific issues related to land use and natural resources.
Beyond the scientific information they supply, some Landsat images are simply striking to look at, presenting spectacular views of mountains, valleys and islands, as well as forests, grasslands and agricultural patterns. By selecting certain features and colouring them from a digital palate, the US Geological Survey has created a series of ‘Earth as Art’ perspectives that demonstrate an artistic resonance in satellite land imagery and provide a special avenue of insight about the geography of each scene.
Nasa asked the public to vote on their favourite images from the more than 120 images in the online “Earth as Art” collection – and received over 14 000 votes.
This image of Lake Eyre taken by Landsat 5 came 5th. The image was acquired on 5 August 2006.
The scary face in this image is actually inundated patches of shallow Lake Eyre (pronounced “air”) in the desert country of northern South Australia. An ephemeral feature of this flat, parched landscape, Lake Eyre is Australia’s largest lake when it’s full. However in the last 150 years, it has filled completely only three times.
Image credit: Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Centre/USGS