Backup at Ports of LA and Long Beach
On Oct. 10, 2021, NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument captured an image of over 70 ships waiting to dock and unload at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, due to a supply-chain crunch. The image covers an area of 14 by 16 miles (23 by 25 kilometers).
ASTER, aboard the Terra satellite, views Earth's surface in visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared wavelengths. Together with its high spatial resolution of about 50 to 300 feet (15 to 91 meters), the instrument maps and monitors the changing surface of our planet. It 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 in Southern California. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.