6,000 Mile Long Panoramic Photo

NASA satellite captures images of the “Long Swath”

usgs, landsat, NASA, mapNASA and the US Geological Survey have produced the world’s largest panoramic photo. The 6000 mile (9000km) long “Long Swath” panorama was taken by the Land Data Continuity Mission orbiting some 438 (705km) miles above Earth.

To produce this impressive panorama, the LDCM took 56 still images while orbiting Earth at over 17,000 miles per hour. At that speed, the satellite was able to create an image spanning from Russia to South Africa in just over 21 minutes.

Most remarkable about the Long Swath panorama is how the image depicts varying types of terrain from mountains to desert. According to NASA, this “swath of land 185-kilometers wide and 9,000 kilometers long (120 by 6,000 miles) [is] an unusual, unbroken distance considering 70 percent of Earth is covered with water.”

Currently, the LCDM is in its initial test phase, and NASA is calibrating the satellites numerous data collection tools before handing it over to the USGS. Once the satellite’s ownership is transferred, it will be renamed LandSat 8, and will continue generating data to monitor agricultural and human expansion across the globe.

Of the numerous tools that “LandSat 8-to-be” carries, most important to data collection might be the Operational Land Imager. The OLI is charged with capturing images in the visible, near infrared and short wave infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, and is the primary tool for creating high resolution images of the Earth’s surface.

LandSat8 is scheduled to be operational for up to ten years, and in that decade it’ll likely be witness to some dramatic changes to the Earth’s surface. Being able to study these changes will be a huge benefit to scientists and policy makers the world over, and marks another important reason why we should continue developing space infrastructure.

Fly with the LandSat Data Continuity Mission: