With a refining capacity of over 560,000 barrels per day, ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery in Texas is the largest refinery in the United States. And with 970 hectares of intensely industrialized land within its perimeter, this is one of the largest industrial sites in the world. In addition to the refinery, ExxonMobil Chemical operates two petrochemical plants on the site, making 13 billion pounds of chemicals a year for a variety of industries and products. The refinery opened in 1919, by the Humble Oil Company, which later became Exxon. The 4 kilometer wide plant employs over 4,000 people. The image was acquired October 1, 2003, covers an area of 9 x 12 km, and is located at 29.7 degrees north latitude, 95 degrees west 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/.