This image, acquired by NASA's Terra spacecraft, is of the volcanic Ogasawara Islands. The islands were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in recognition of an outstanding example of ongoing evolutionary processes in oceanic island ecosystems.

The volcanic Ogasawara Islands (also known as the Bonin Islands) are located 1000 km south of the main Japanese mainland. In 2011, the islands were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in recognition of their serving as an outstanding example of the ongoing evolutionary processes in oceanic island ecosystems. Ogasawara supports 440 species of native plants, 195 endangered bird species, 100 native snail species, and distinctive mammals. The image was acquired August 24, 2003, covers an area of 23 x 76 km, and is located at 27.1 degrees north latitude, 142.2 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

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