It is the only high-resolution instrument on Terra. It is used with four other instruments on the satellite which monitor Earth at moderate to coarse spatial resolutions. The instrument's ability to serve as a zoom lens for the other instruments is useful in a variety of land surface studies.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer actually consists of three separate subsystems, each of which has its own telescope or telescopes and which views Earth in a different part of the energy spectrum. One of them sees Earth in the visible and near-infrared, while a second views in the shortwave infrared and the third in the thermal infrared.
The instrument was provided by Japan's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, and each of the three subsystems was built by a different company in Japan. JPL is responsible for the American side of the joint U.S.-Japan science team.
The Terra satellite was launched December 18, 1999, from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Terra mission is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.
Earth imaging systems
Launch: December 18,1999