In southwest Oregon, the Biscuit Fire continues to grow. This image, acquired from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite on August 14, 2002, shows the pillars of smoke arising from the fires. Active fire areas are in red. More than 6,000 fire personnel are assigned to the Biscuit Fire alone, which was 390,276 acres as of Thursday morning, August 15, and only 26 percent contained. Among the resources threatened are thousands of homes, three nationally designated wild and scenic rivers, and habitat for several categories of plants and animals at risk of extinction. Firefighters currently have no estimate as to when the fire might be contained.
With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER will image Earth for the next six years to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet.
ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and the data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER will provide scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping, and monitoring dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are: monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.
Dr. Anne Kahle at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is the U.S. science team leader; Bjorn Eng of JPL is the project manager. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, a long-term research effort to understand and protect our home planet.
Size: 45 by 60 kilometers (27.9 by 37.2 miles)
Location: 42.1 degrees North latitude, 124.1 degrees West longitude
Orientation: North at top
Image Data: ASTER bands 1, 2, 3 and 8.
Original Data Resolution: 15 and 30 meters (49.2 and 98.4 feet)
Date Acquired: August 14, 2002