NASAs Terra spacecraft shows Payun Matru, a large shield volcano capped by a caldera, located in the Andean Volcanic Belt in Argentina.

Payun Matru is a large shield volcano capped by a caldera (right half of image), located in the Andean Volcanic Belt in Argentina. Nearby to the south is the high compound volcano Payun; to the west is a field of cinder cones and lava flows. The most recent volcanic activity occurred about 500 years ago. The image was acquired March 1, 2009, covers an area of 46.7 by 53.1 km, and is located at 36.4 degrees south, 69.3 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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