NASA and Japan just released over 2.95 million thermal satellite photos of Earth, for free

japan nasa aster free
NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team
Japan’s Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument has been orbiting the Earth for the past 16 years collecting data about the Earth’s surface. Previously, anyone could access ASTER’s topographic maps for free, but individuals had to pay a fee to obtain more detailed data for analysis. Now, following an announcement by NASA and Japan, all of ASTER’s maps and data products are available to the public free of charge.

ASTER is one of five sensing instruments on NASA’a Earth Observing Terra Spacecraft and was developed as a cooperative effort between NASA, Japans’s Space Systems, and the Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.  ASTER is capable of acquiring images in both visible and thermal infrared wavelengths with a resolution up to 50 feet. The data collected from the sensor has been used to generate land surface temperature, reflectance, and elevation maps.

venice-lagoon

ASTER’s current database houses more than 2.95 million scenes, covering up to 99 percent of the Earth’s landmass. It includes historically significant events such as the eruption of Nicaragua’s Momotombe Volcano, the effects of an EF-5 tornado in Oklahoma and more. Each downloaded scene available to the public covers 37 by 37 miles with larger images available upon request.

NASA hopes this free access will encourage people to explore the data and use it in different ways. “We anticipate a dramatic increase in the number of users of our data, with new and exciting results to come,” said Michael Abrams, ASTER science team leader at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. As part of this announcement, NASA and Japan also acknowledged ASTER’s contribution to our understanding of the Earth’s surface and confirmed the continued operation of the sensor, which has been collecting data far longer than its initial five-year life expectancy.

Gaming

How doctors are fighting Alzheimer’s with a cleverly designed VR game

After three years, the mobile game Sea Hero Quest has generated millions of hours worth of data that could help researchers find the next step in how we diagnose and understand dementia and Alzheimer's.
News

Google was sharing Android user location data with carriers worldwide

Google quietly ended a service providing cell carriers with location data from customers. The service provided user data from Android devices on any carrier. Data was aggregated and anonymous, and carrier names weren't disclosed.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s satellite projects will study the sun using solar sailing

Small satellites can be used for all sorts of purposes, and NASA has been searching for ideas to push ahead the capabilities of the hardware. The agency has announced two new projects to demonstrate the potential of small satellites.
Emerging Tech

NASA selects landing site candidates for OSIRIS-Rex to sample asteroid Bennu

Last year, the OSIRIS-REx craft arrived at asteroid Bennu, from which it will collect a sample from the asteroid to be brought back to Earth. Now, the NASA team has selected four potential sites to choose from for the sampling mission.
Emerging Tech

Eric Geusz: Apple engineer by day, spaceship designer by night

An Apple software engineer by day, artist Eric Geusz spends his nights drawing everyday household objects as amazing, science fiction-style spaceships. Check out the impressive results.
Emerging Tech

The black hole at the center of our galaxy is flaring and no one knows why

At the heart of our galaxy lies a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*. Normally this giant monster is relatively docile, but recently it's been a hotbed of unexpected activity, rapidly glowing 75 times brighter than normal.
Emerging Tech

Wreckage, reefs, and robots: The high-tech quest to find Amelia Earhart’s plane

Over 80 years ago, American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared while trying to fly around the world. Now an autonomous water-based robot could help find some answers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

SpaceIL’s crashed lander may have sent thousands of tardigrades to the moon

When the SpaceIL craft Beresheet crashed into the moon earlier this year, it left more than just an impact mark. Thousands of micro-animals called tardigrades were along for the ride and may have survived the crash.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures a beautiful cosmic jellyfish made of glowing gas

A new image from Hubble might look like a deep-space jellyfish, but it's not a sign of extraterrestrial life - in fact, it's a planetary nebula called NGC 2022, located in the constellation of Orion (The Hunter).
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe makes a second orbit of the sun, captures solar wind on video

The Parker Solar Probe, launched last year, has completed its second orbit around the sun. To celebrate, the team responsible for the probe has released a video showing solar winds in action.
Cars

Starman on Tesla Roadster makes first orbit around sun, braces for loneliness

Starman and his Tesla Roadster, sent by SpaceX to outer space last year, have completed their first orbit around the sun. The people on Earth may be able to catch a glimpse of the cherry-red electric vehicle on November 2020.
Emerging Tech

Bernie Sanders calls for a ban on police use of facial recognition

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for a complete ban on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement as part of the new criminal justice reform plan he introduced this weekend.
Emerging Tech

On the fence about buying solar panels? Tesla now offers them for rent

With solar rental Tesla says “customers get the best from solar power — clean, cheap energy to power homes and vehicles — without upfront costs or decades-long agreements. In fact, customers can get solar power with one click, instead…
Emerging Tech

Autonomous robot deliveries are coming to 100 university campuses in the U.S.

Autonomous robot company Starship Technologies has announced that it will expand its food delivery services to 100 university campuses around the United States over the next 24 months.