The Khyber Pass is a mountain pass that links Afghanistan and Pakistan. Throughout its history it has been an important trade route between Central Asia and South Asia, and is a strategic military location. It is the route used by Alexander the Great, Cyrus the Great, Genghis Khan, Babur the Tiger, Chandragupta Maurya, Darius I and countless other would-be conquerors. The Afghan Shinwari clan, who live in the Pass, regarded the Pass as their own preserve and have levied a toll on travelers for safe conduct. The perspective view looks from Afghanistan, eastward into Pakistan. The image was acquired October 22, 2007 and is located at 34.1 degrees north latitude, 71.1 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 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/.