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First images from new NASA satellite include southeast Michigan

An image including Detroit takes in an area from southern Lake St. Clair down to the western basin of Lake Erie. This image was among the nine first images sent back from Landsat 9.

One of the first nine images sent back from a recently launched NASA satellite was of the Detroit region from the southern part of Lake St. Clair to the western basin of Lake Erie in unprecedented detail from its predecessors.

Illustration of the Landsat 9 spacecraft in orbit around Earth, passing over the U.S. from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The satellite circles the globe every 99 minutes.

This new satellite was launched by NASA in September. It carries two instruments that capture imagery including visible and a spectrum of infrared wavelengths. It also includes a thermal infrared sensor to measure Earth’s surface temperatures and its changes, according to NASA.

Landsat 9 is similar to its predecessor, Landsat 8, but features several improvements, including better imaging.

Landsat 7 will be going out of service. Landsat 8 and 9 together will collect about 1,500 images of the Earth’s surface each day. They’ll be able to cover the entire globe every eight days.

The U.S. Geological Survey will be using data from the satellite to study agricultural effects such as harmful algal blooms as well as contributing factors to climate change among other things.

“The incredible first pictures of the Landsat 9 satellite are a glimpse into the data that will help us make science-based decisions on key issues including water use, wildfire impacts, coral reef degradation, glacier and ice-shelf retreat, and tropical deforestation,” said USGS Acting Director David Applegate in a statement.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.