NASAs Terra spacecraft shows Chennai, Indias four major reservoirs have virtually run dry. The city has seen no rain for over six months.

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Before image (Oct. 6, 2015)
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Chennai, India's sixth largest city, has seen no rain for over six months. Its four major reservoirs have virtually run dry, and the city's population of four million is mostly relying on government tankers to provide water, or paying private companies to supply water. The two images were acquired by ASTER on October 6, 2015, and Landsat OLI on June 3, 2019. They cover an area of 29.9 by 45.7 kilometers, and are centered at 13.1 degrees north, 80.3 degrees east.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of about 50 to 300 feet (15 to 90 meters), 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 in Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

More information about ASTER is available at

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