RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “Liftoff! Liftoff of an Atlas 5 Rocket and Landsat 9” was the call in California Monday afternoon.
And with that liftoff, another satellite is launched into space. Landsat 9 is a satellite that will travel more than 16,000 mph once in orbit, circling the Earth every 99 minutes.
Landsat 9 will do more than show us what our planet looks like. It also shows us how the planet is changing.
“We take images of our planet every day,” research scientist Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo explains. “And this allows us to look at changes happening and it allows us to make maps of what’s happening on the planet.”
Fatoyinbo is part of the research team for the Landsat Mission. The Mission itself has been imaging the Earth for nearly 50 years but with this new addition, we will get more data more quickly.
“We’re actually now going to be able to measure every area on the planet every 8 days, we have more data. Before it was every 16, so now it’s down from 16 to 8,” she said.
And more data is more important with our changing world. Landsat has shown melting glaciers, changing coastlines, and deforestation, but it can also give ways to improve how we use the land, all the way down to the food we eat.
“You can use it to monitor what type of fields you have, what types of crops there are, how well they’re growing,” she explains. “This will help us better predict where you should be putting your fertilizer for example.”
Fatoyinbo says the more we monitor the Earth both from on land and in space, the more we can find ways to make it better for all of us.
“You constantly have to monitor your health, you constantly have to monitor your bank account, you’re never going to stop doing that. This is why we need to continue the Landsat Mission and why we’re so excited today for this launch,” she said.
For more information on the Landsat Mission, click here.