A satellite sending data back to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey – Landsat 8 – appears to have no functional problems as it is readied for a 10-year mission in orbit, according to the Associated Press. The new satellite is sending back more than 400 images per day.
Landsat 8 has a few advantages over its predecessor, Landsat 7, which is still in orbit and captures 250 images per day. The new satellite has two new spectral bands – one to see deeper into oceans, lakes and rivers and another to detect cirrus clouds and correct for atmospheric effects.
NASA launched Landsat 8 in February 2013. It’s about the size of a shipping truck, with a sheet of solar panels 30-feet long. It’s stocked with a 10-year supply of fuel and travels at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour.
Image: A before-and-after image series of a burn scar in southern California captured by Landsat 8 (Credit: USGS)