NASA's Terra spacecraft acquired this image of St. Anthony's, the world's oldest Christian monastery, settled in the remote mountainous area of eastern Egypt near the Red Sea.

St. Anthony's, the world's oldest Christian monastery, recently underwent an extensive restoration. St. Anthony, revered as the founder of Christian monasticism, settled in the remote mountainous area of eastern Egypt near the Red Sea at the end of the 3rd century. The monastery was built around 350 C.E. at an oasis, and remains in use today. Amid the restorations, researchers found the remains of the original monks' cells from the 4th century. The image was acquired on November 13, 2009, covers an area of 15 x 18 km, and is located near 28.9 degrees north latitude, 32.3 degrees east longitude.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.

More information about ASTER is available at

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