On Sept. 3, 2010, NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image strip over the Indus River, Pakistan, where severe flooding caused a major humanitarian crisis.

On Sept. 3, 2010, when the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft captured this image strip over the Indus River, Pakistan, severe flooding was still causing a major humanitarian crisis in the country. The city of Hyderabad is near the middle of the image. In this false-color image, vegetation appears red, water is medium to dark blue and non-vegetated hills are light tan. The ASTER image is located at 25.2 degrees north latitude, 68.4 degrees east longitude. The image covers an area of 60 by 169 kilometers (37 by 118 miles).

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 Dec. 18, 1999, on 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 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/.

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