National Geographic : 1976 Jul
earth find a burgeoning variety of uses: management of ranges and forests, monitoring of crops and the environment, and aiding in the discovery of new energy and mineral sources. technology are greater accuracy and quality at reduced cost and processing time. With Goddard, IBM is now building such an all-digital system for precise and rapid processing of satellite sensor data-a full Landsat scene in just two minutes rather than 35 or more. It will be operating by the time the third earth resources satellite is launched in September 1977. Next Satellite Will "Read" Heat Landsat 3 will be able to see more than the earlier satellites. A thermal infrared sensor will augment the existing bands of the multi spectral scanner, and will monitor heat is lands such as industry, nuclear power plants, and cities. What does the future portend? Far more than simply portraits of countries from space. Judging from Landsat's performance, we can look forward to a network of information services from the skies. A noted geologist, Dr. Michel T. Halbouty of Houston, Texas, may have given us only a modest appraisal of Landsat's ultimate value when he called it "one of the most important national initia tives ever conceived and implemented in our 200 years of existence." For the past four and a half billion years our ever-changing planet has been absorbing and reflecting the sun's energy. Now, for the first time since creation, a portion of the earth's surface radiance is being methodically monitored and measured to help us under stand our home-and show us the difference between wise use and wanton abuse.