NASAs Terra spacecraft shows Phoenix, the capital and most populous city in Arizona.

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Landsat TM image (November 28, 1982)
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Phoenix is the capital and most populous city in Arizona. It is also the fifth largest city in the US. It was settled in the 1880s as an agricultural community. Between 1980 and 2017, the metropolitan area grew from 1.5 million residents to 4.9 million. This astonishing expansion is dramatically seen in these two satellite images. The Landsat TM image was acquired November 28, 1982, and the ASTER image September 12, 2018. The images cover an area of 42 by 51 km, and are located at 33.4 degrees north, 112.1 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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