NASAs Terra spacecraft shows the top of Mauna Kea Volcano, Big Island of Hawaii, where the Mauna Kea Observatories, with thirteen telescopes, are located.

On top of Mauna Kea Volcano, Big Island of Hawaii, are located the Mauna Kea Observatories, with thirteen telescopes. The site's 4205 m elevation, and lack of light pollution make it one of the most ideal locations for astronomical observations. Start of construction of the new Thirty Meter Telescope was delayed in July due to protests by Native Hawaiians who consider the mountain to be one of their most sacred sites. Image data for the perspective view was acquired April 23, 2019, and is located at 19.8 degrees north, 155.5 degrees west.

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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