Nunavut, in northern Canada, is the largest and newest federal territory of the country. The name means "our land" in Inuktitut, given to the territory in 1999. With a population of about 33,000 and an area about the size of Western Europe, Nunavut is the largest and least populous of the provinces in Canada. The land is mostly flat as a result of the actions of the large ice sheet that completely covered the land tens of thousands of years ago. The evidence of this past glaciation is apparent in the thousands of lakes gouged out of the land surface. In the summer the lakes each harbor different biota, and have varying amounts of sediments; hence the great variety of colors seen. The image was acquired July 18, 2001, covers an area of 58 x 59 km, and is located at 67 degrees north latitude, 97.6 degrees west longitude.
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 images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. 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 data products.
The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of 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.
The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C.
More information about ASTER is available at http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/.