These two images show exactly the same area, Lake Balbina near Manaus, Brazil. The image on the left was created using the best global topographic data set previously available, the U.S. Geological Survey's GTOPO30. In contrast, the much more detailed image on the right was generated with data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which collected enough measurements to map 80 percent of Earth's landmass at this level of precision.
Lake Balbina is a man-made reservoir created to supply hydroelectric power to the city of Manaus, located 125 kilometers (77 miles) to the south. The reservoir is located on the Uatuma River and drains a 19,100-square-kilometer (7,340-square-mile) basin of mostly upland topography where the relief extends from 30 meters (98 feet) to 200 meters(650 feet) in elevation. The lake includes a cluster of approximately 1,500 islands separated by submerged, shallow valleys within a flooded water-surface area of 2,400 square kilometers (920 square miles). Prior to the dam closure on October 1, 1987, the annually averaged flow on thriver was about 450 cubic meters (16,000 cubic feet) per second. Water depths in the full reservoir average 7.4 meters (24 feet). Because the vegetation was not cleared before filling, the lake consists mostly of forest and inundated trunks of dead, leafless trees.
For some parts of the globe, Shuttle Radar Topography Mission measurements are 30 times more precise than previously available topographical information, according to NASA scientists. Mission data will be a welcome resource for national and local governments, scientists, commercial enterprises, and members of the public alike. The applications are as diverse as earthquake and volcano studies, flood control, transportation, urban and regional planning, aviation, recreation, and communications. The data's military applications include mission planning and rehearsal, modeling, and simulation.
This image combines two types of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data. The image brightness corresponds to the strength of the radar signal reflected from the ground, while colors show the elevation measurements. Colors range from blue at the lowest elevations to brown and white at the highest elevations.
Elevation data used in this image was acquired by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, launched on Feb. 11, 2000. The mission used the same radar instrument that comprised the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR)that flew twice on Endeavour in 1994. The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission was designed to collect 3-D measurements of Earth's surface. To collect the 3-D data, engineers added a 60-meter (approximately 200-foot) mast, installed additional C-band and X-band antennas, and improved tracking and navigation devices. The mission is a cooperative project between NASA, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the German and Italian space agencies. It is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, Washington, D.C.
Size: 111 kilometers by 111 kilometers (69 miles by 69 miles)
Location: 1.5 degrees South latitude, 59.5 degrees West longitude
Orientation: North is at the top
Date Acquired: February 2000 (SRTM)