Terra Satellite 20-Year Anniversary: The Applications


For twenty years, Terra has continually monitored Earth… …and we have benefitted. Together, Terra’s five sensors helps us understand our changing planet. From climate models to everyday applications, Terra provides data we use every day. Farmers and land managers can forecast how well crops will do… …and see if there is potential threat for drought using data from MODIS. This information can influence the price of food, affect the economy, and help humanitarian agencies provide relief where food is scarce. Before a volcano erupts, MODIS detects abnormal hot spots… …triggering an automatic request for high-resolution ASTER images. This helps people anticipate and prepare for an eruption. MODIS and MISR, monitor volcanic plumes of ash and smoke… To track how high and far they travel… This helps keep planes away from harmful volcanic particles. Everyday, Terra’s MODIS instrument finds active fires around the world. The real-time fire map is one of the most in-demand products… …for fighting wildfires. Fires release harmful gas, smoke and particles into the air. MODIS, MISR and MOPITT work together to track unsafe air quality, so people can take precautions. The sensors also help forecast health risks like potential breakouts of dengue virus but using land temperature data to identify where mosquitos are breeding. While land surface temperatures rise and our climate changes, Terra continues to monitor Earth’s climate. Two decades of monitoring Earth’s energy by CERES is critical to improving climate models to help us better prepare for the future. Terra’s contributions to the world are numerous… …and new uses continue to be invented.

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