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How Will We Sustain a More Populated Planet? (Briefing Materials)
Expanding demand from a growing world population -- now numbered at over 7 billion -- exerts unprecedented pressure on global resources, especially forests, water, and agriculture. Observing our world by remote sensing satellites enables scientists around the world to detect the most critical trends in natural resource conditions at local to global scales. Since 1972, the Landsat Earth observation satellites have monitored changes at the Earth’s land surface, including changes in forests, water bodies and agricultural and urban areas.

NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are hosting a press event in Herndon, Va., on Wednesday, Nov. 16 at noon EST. Experts in mapping and monitoring Earth will describe present conditions and outline the future of many of our planet's natural resources.

  • Thomas Loveland, U.S. Geological Survey, moderator
  • Alan Belward, European Commission Joint Research Centre
  • Matthew Hansen, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Curtis Woodcock, Boston University
  • James Irons, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video of the press briefing is being streamed live at:

Background multimedia related to the briefing can be found at:

› Related NASA story
› Related USGS story

Briefing Materials

Thomas Loveland, U.S. Geological Survey, moderator

Visuals unavailable.

Alan Belward, European Commission Joint Research Centre

› Visuals 1 and 2 (pdf)
› Visual 3-5

Matthew Hansen, University of Maryland, College Park

› Visuals 1-23 (18.3 MB pdf)
› Accompanying video for visual No. 21 (3.1 MB mov)

Curtis Woodcock, Boston University

No visuals.

James Irons, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

› Visual 1
An artist's view of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission spacecraft in orbit above the Gulf Coast of the U.S. Credit: Conceptual Image Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
› More info

› Visual 2 (6 MB mov)
Animation of LDCM in orbit over the Eastern US. Credit: Conceptual Image Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
› More info

› Visual 3
Engineers at Orbital Sciences Corporation, Gilbert, AZ integrated the Operational Land Imager (OLI) onto the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft. The integration took 3 days. This photo shows OLI wrapped in electrostatic discharge blankets that also provide a barrier to particulate contamination. The lifting frame in the photo was removed after integration. Engineers attached the instrument to the spacecraft payload deck at three mounting feet. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation

› Visual 4
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) is being built by the Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation. The Ball contract was awarded in July 2007. OLI improves on past Landsat sensors using a technical approach demonstrated by a sensor flown on NASA’s experimental EO-1 satellite. OLI is a push-broom sensor with a four-mirror telescope and 12-bit quantization. OLI will collect data for visible, near infrared, and short wave infrared spectral bands as well as a panchromatic band. It has a five-year design life.

› Visual 5
The OLI telescope uses a four-mirror compact design. The optics are positioned inside a lightweight, yet highly stable, carbon composite optical bench (i.e., a substrate on which the optics are mounted) that has special features to control undesired stray light (stray light is any light entering the optics from someplace other than the observed Earth surface, or imaging “target”).

Because OLI is a push-broom instrument, as opposed to a scanner (or “whisk-broom”), it has a wide field-of-view to cover the entire ground swath width. Wide field-of-view telescopes are generally susceptible to stray light, so the OLI telescope is designed for improved stray light control. The number and shapes of the mirrors meet the required optical design parameters, like focal length, for example, within a size that also meets the volume and mass requirements for the instrument.

Note: The previous Landsat sensors have used scanner or “whisk-broom” technology. This means that a mirror scans from side-to-side across the satellite path directing light into the instrument detectors. The OLI uses push-broom technology meaning that an array of detectors is used to image the entire swath/width of the satellite path simultaneously.

› Visual 6
Technicians at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center lower the telescope into the body of the TIRS instrument. The telescope lenses will focus the incoming light onto the detectors at the focal plane of the instrument.

› Visual 7
TIRS sitting on the cart while connected to the calibration ground support equipment outside of the thermal vacuum chamber. The side facing the camera is the radiator panel. The Earth shield will attach perpendicularly to this radiator.

› Visual 8
Sitting inside the thermal vacuum chamber after a round of testing, TIRS waits to be disconnected and rolled out of the chamber.
› More info