This image from NASA's Terra spacecraft shows an area outside of Bogota, Colombia, one of the country's two major flower growing areas.

Outside of Bogota, Colombia is one of the country's two major flower growing areas. Started in 1970, Colombia's cut flower industry now provides about 70% of the US market, and ships over $1 billion in blooms annually. The explosive growth of hot-house flowers has brought with it unplanned negative consequences: increased use of limited ground water resources, shared by the city of Bogota; and increased exposure of workers to fungicides and pesticides. This is counterbalanced by the infusion of cash into the Colombian economy and creation of jobs in the industry. The image covers an area of 21 x 21 km, was acquired on February 7, 2007, and is located near 4.7 degrees north latitude, 74.3 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

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