- Original Caption Released with Image:
An area near Long Valley, California, was mapped by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar aboard the space shuttle Endeavor on April 13, 1994, during the first flight of the radar instrument, and on October 4, 1994, during the second flight of the radar instrument. The orbital configurations of the two data sets were ideal for interferometric combination -- that is overlaying the data from one image onto a second image of the same area to create an elevation map and obtain estimates of topography. Once the topography is known, any radar-induced distortions can be removed and the radar data can be geometrically projected directly onto a standard map grid for use in a geographical information system.
The 50 kilometer by 50 kilometer (31 miles by 31 miles) map shown here is entirely derived from SIR-C L-band radar (horizontally transmitted and received) results. The color shown in this image is produced from the interferometrically determined elevations, while the brightness is determined by the radar backscatter. The map is in Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates. Elevation contour lines are shown every 50 meters (164 feet). Crowley Lake is the dark feature near the south edge of the map. The Adobe Valley in the north and the Long Valley in the south are separated by the Glass Mountain Ridge, which runs through the center of the image. The height accuracy of the interferometrically derived digital elevation model is estimated to be 20 meters (66 feet) in this image.
Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves, allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity.
SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.V.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
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