This image from NASA's Terra spacecraft shows the Kuk Early Agricultural Site in the western highlands of New Guinea. It is an excellent example of transformation of agricultural practices over time.
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Kuk, New Guinea

The Kuk Early Agricultural Site consists of 116 ha of swamps in the western highlands of New Guinea 1,500 meters above sea-level. Archaeological excavation has revealed the landscape to be one of wetland reclamation worked almost continuously for 7,000, and possibly for 10,000 years. It contains well-preserved archaeological remains demonstrating the technological leap which transformed plant exploitation to agriculture around 6,500 years ago. It is an excellent example of transformation of agricultural practices over time, from cultivation mounds to draining the wetlands through the digging of ditches with wooden tools. The area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. The image was acquired May 7, 2002, covers an area of 31.6 x 40 km, and is located at 5.8 degrees south latitude, 144.3 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 ASTER 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 details

ID#:
PIA13090

Date added:
2010-05-03

Target:
Earth

Mission:
Earth Observing System (EOS)

Spacecraft:
Terra

Instruments:
Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)

Size:
2664 x 2108 pixels (width x height)

Rating:



Views:
3,094

Full-Res TIFF:
PIA13090.tif (16.86 MB)

Full-Res JPG:
PIA13090.jpg (1.34 MB)

Image credit:
NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team