In addition to the changes brought about by natural forces, it has recently become apparent that a relative newcomer to planet Earth — the human being — has become a powerful agent of environmental change.
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Students identify and classify kinds of land cover (such as vegetation, urban areas, water, and bare soil) in Landsat satellite images of Phoenix, Arizona taken in 1984 and 2018.
This mini lesson focuses on Landsat satellite data and how it is used to detect changes in land use. Students will answer questions based off of a NASA Video that features how Landsat data are interpreted in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, and gives examples of the effects insects and logging have with land management.
The purpose of this activity is to have students use an Earth Systems perspective to identify the various causes associated with changes to Earth's forests as they review Landsat imagery of site locations from around the world.
This investigation introduces students to the significant environmental changes occurring around the world. The investigation uses NASA satellite images of Brazil to illustrate deforestation as one type of environmental change.
This USGS activity leads students to an understanding of what remote sensing means and how researchers use it to study changes to the Earth’s surface, such as deforestation.
Read about Dr. Valerie L. Thomas and her contributions to the Landsat program. Since her Landsat days, Thomas, who later invented and patented the Illusion Transmitter, has actively supported women in STEM. Today, she is still teaching and participating in hands-on STEM programs.
Examine the images to see the projected differences in land use between 1900 and 2100.
Dr. Eric Brown de Colstoun is a Physical Scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA/GSFC, where he has been working for over 15 years. His expertise in the field of remote sensing is broad, having used data collected at various spatial scales, with a variety of instrumentation (laboratory, field, airborne, satellite).
Dr. West is former NASA DEVELOP National Program participant, Center Lead, and current mentor to the program. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in ecology at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University.