This image from NASA's Terra spacecraft shows Baektu Mountain, an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. Rising to 2744 m, its summit caldera is filled with a crater lake, Heaven Lake.

Baektu Mountain is an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. Rising to 2744 m, its summit caldera is filled with a crater lake, Heaven Lake. The crater was created by a colossal eruption in 970, spreading volcanic ash as far as northern Japan. Its last eruption was in 1903. The image was acquired August 19, 2003, and is located at 42 degrees north, 128 degrees east.

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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