NASAs Terra spacecraft shows the Panguna copper ore deposit, discovered in 1969 in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.

The Panguna copper ore deposit was discovered in 1969 in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. It has one of the largest reserves in the world, with 1 billion tons of copper and 12 million ounces of gold. In 1989 the then world's largest open pit copper-gold mine closed as a result of conflict between the mine owners and traditional land owners over the profits. The mine owners were also accused of poisoning the entire length of the Jaba River. The image was acquired November 12, 2013, covers an area of 24 by 39 kilometers, and is located at 6.3 degrees south, 155.5 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 http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.

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