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This is an X-SAR image spanning an area of approximately 20 kilometers by 40 kilometers (12 miles by 25 miles) of the island of Hong Kong, the Kowloon Peninsula and the new territories in southern China, taken by the imaging radar on board the space shuttle Endeavour on October 4, 1994. North is toward the top left corner of the image. The Kaitak Airport runway on Kowloon Peninsula (center right of image) was built on reclaimed land and extends almost 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) into Victoria Harbor. To the south of the harbor lies the island of Hong Kong. The bright areas around the harbor are the major residential and business districts. Housing more than six million residents, Hong Kong is the most densely populated area in the world. The large number of objects visible in the harbor and surrounding waters are a variety of sea-going vessels, anchored in one of the busiest seaports in the Far East.
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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