NASA's Terra spacecraft flew over South Africa and Zimbabwe where week-long torrential rains swelled the Limpopo River in Jan. 2013.

In southern Mozambique, more than 80,000 people have been displaced due to recent flooding. The floods are a result of week-long torrential rains in South Africa and Zimbabwe that swelled the Limpopo River in Jan. 2013, but the full impact of the rains is only now being felt. The town of Chokwe, north of the capitol, was completely submerged. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft acquired this image on Jan. 25, 2013. It covers an area of 39 by 79 miles (63 by 127 kilometers) and is located near 24.8 degrees south latitude, 32.9 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/.

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