Earth Observations Community Comes Together to Celebrate Landsat
August 1, 2012
Capping off a busy day of celebrations of the Landsat program’s 40th anniversary, including a press event at the Newseum and a Hill briefing, IGES hosted a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building, bringing together over 150 industry, government, and academic representatives.
Entitled Landsat: A Legacy for the Future, the reception was sponsored by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT), and Orbital Sciences Corporation and took place on July 23, 2012. While exploring some of Landsat’s most notable images, participants had an opportunity to interact with many that made the program’s milestones possible, from NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) experts involved in the research and applications of Landsat-derived data, to industry leaders that contributed to the development of the satellites.
IGES President Nancy Colleton introduced the featured speakers, including Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle and Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12), both of whom emphasized the importance of Landsat as a repository of information about our changing planet. During his remarks, NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati said that each Landsat image is part of a larger story: the story of human relationship with the planet. Abdalati emphasized that “there is value in understanding what the future will bring,” and that Landsat images allow us to find ways to thrive and succeed in the face of change. “Make no mistake, these images are about our future,” he said in closing.
The enthusiasm of leaders such as these helps articulate the importance of a program that has led to a myriad of societal benefits and applications, from agriculture and planning to climate change research. In this role, the speakers emphasized that Landsat has not only provided a service to the nation, but to the world.
Colleton, reflecting on the event, said: “We cannot stress enough how critical systems like Landsat can be to future generations. Bringing together leaders like these is a key part of communicating that message.”
Clockwise: Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12); NASA’s Waleed Abdlati; (from left) IGES’ Nancy Colleton, DOI’s Anne Castle and Ball’s Carol Lane.