In March 18, 2013, the newly launched Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) began sending images back to Earth from its two sensors, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) and the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS), including the two images above of Fort Collins, Colo.
The images are close-up views from the Operational Land Imager (OLI) sensor at its maximum resolution of 15 meters per pixel. The top image displays natural color, while the bottom image blends shortwave infrared, near-infrared and green wavelengths (LDCM bands 7, 5, 3).
“The first OLI and TIRS images look great right out of the box,” said Jim Irons, LDCM project scientist. “I have waited a long time to view the first LDCM images, and I could not be more impressed with their appearance.”
LDCM was launched on Feb. 11, 2013, to continue the four-decade-long Landsat record of Earth’s landscapes. LDCM represents an evolutionary advancement in technology from previous Landsat spacecraft, collecting more data daily and with greater fidelity. The satellite’s imagers also include two new bands to improve the view of clouds and near-shore waters.
LDCM’s normal operations are scheduled to begin in late May 2013, after the instruments have been calibrated in orbit and the spacecraft has been fully checked out. At that time, NASA will hand over control of the satellite to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the satellite will be renamed Landsat 8.
Made with reflected red, green and blue light, the natural-color LDCM image (top) shows Fort Collins as the human eye would see it. The city is a gray
grid, and white clouds cast black shadows on the ground below. Land freshly burned in the Galena Fire is charcoal black—just slightly darker than the
dark green coniferous forest to its west. The false-color LDCM image (bottom) shows Fort Collins in wavelengths of light not usually visible to people.
Plants are green, city areas are purple, snow is pale blue, and bare earth is tan-pink. The Galena Fire burn is dark red and easy to distinguish from its