On Feb. 12, 2010, the 21st Winter Olympic Games opened in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, shown in this image acquired Sept. 29, 2008, from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft. This is the third Winter Olympics held in Canada, and the first in British Columbia. The events will be held in and around the city of Vancouver and also in the nearby resort town of Whistler, 125 kilometers (75 miles) north of Vancouver (not visible in this image). Cypress Mountain, the venue for the freestyle skiing and snowboard events, is located 31 kilometers (19 miles) north of the Vancouver Olympic Village, in the mountains north of the city in the upper left of the image.
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 http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.
Image acquired: September 29, 2008
Location of image: 49.3 degrees North latitude, 123.1 degrees West longitude
Image resolution: 15 meters (50 feet)