Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NASA satellite, natural hazard networks supporting disaster recovery

NASA: NASA's considerable Earth-observing and data analysis and distribution capabilities have been mobilized to provide information to support disaster recovery efforts in Haiti after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. NASA has tasked two of its space-based, high-resolution instruments to image areas hardest hit by the earthquake. Before-and-after scenes of Port-au-Prince, for example, will be used to aid with damage assessment and recovery.

The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), a Japanese-U.S. instrument with visible, infrared and thermal infrared sensors flying on the Terra spacecraft, took observations of the region on Jan. 14. The data are being processed and compared with pre-earthquake imagery. ASTER will again revisit the area on Jan. 19 and Jan. 21. NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite is scheduled to obtain multispectral images of the region on Jan. 15.

NASA and the NASA-funded SERVIR Rapid Response Mapping team at the Center for Water in the Humid Tropics in Latin America and the Caribbean are on standby to support the damage assessment efforts once EO-1 and ASTER data are available.

NASA is coordinating its efforts with international space agencies through the United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response, as well as agreements with the Committee on Earth Observations and the Group on Earth Observations.

An image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission flown in 2000 shows Haiti, with Port-au-Prince is immediately to the left (north) at the mountain front and shoreline. The sharp diagonal line exactly at the image center is the Enriquillo fault. Image Credit: NASA

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