PROGRAM TITLE:  	Landsat Program
ACTIVITY STREAMS: 	Observations and Data Management, Process 
Studies, Integrative Modeling and Prediction, Assessment
SCIENCE ELEMENT:	Biogeochemical dynamics
				Ecological systems and dynamics
				Earth system history
				Human interactions
				Global observing systems
				Data and information management

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

SCIENTIFIC MERIT: The Landsat Program is assisting a broad range of 
global change research activities by providing data suitable for long 
term studies of land cover and biogeochemical processes. The 
instruments on the Landsat series of satellites, the Multispectral 
Scanner System (MSS) and the Thematic Mapper (TM),  have been 
collecting data longer than any other sensing devices designed to 
monitor earth resources. The spatial resolution and spectral 
sensitivity of the MSS and TM provide useful data on land processes 
and are ideal for extrapolating insights obtained from local process 
studies to regional and global scales. As such, Landsat data are used 
widely in natural science and social science research directed, 
generally, toward phenomena that affect the physical and cultural 
landscape and, specifically, toward significant issues in global change 
research.  The Landsat Program is making data available to the 
global change community by: 1) improving accessibility of data in the 
Landsat archive for retrospective studies; 2) augmenting the existing 
archive by purchasing data for specific national and international 
global change research projects such as the IGBP and research 
directed toward specific topics such as tropical forest deforestation, 
desertification, and long term ecological research; and 3) assuring the 
continuity of Landsat and/or Landsat-like data by participating in 
the procurement, operation, and management of a new Landsat 
satellite, Landsat 7, and by participating in the development of an 
advanced land remote sensing system. 

In virtually all global change studies that use Landsat data, the 
characteristics of the data set of greatest value are the ability to 
extract land cover information and the length of the data record. 
Land cover is a manifestation of biophysical and/or cultural process 
and can be used to measure the areal extent of the process.  The 
historical record of Landsat data provides documentable evidence on 
change in the areal extent of a process and rate of process change.  
Because of these characteristics, Landsat data are a key link between 
local process studies and understanding the distribution and impact 
of phenomena at a global level. These data have been used, and will 
continue to be applied, to study topics as diverse as nutrient cycling 
(expressed in  leaf canopy chemistry,) and the effects of urbanization 
on agricultural communities. Landsat data are fundamental in 
modeling phenomena that affect global environments such as the 
distribution of snow and ice (hence, climate change) and atmospheric 
phenomena when those phenomena are influenced by ground 
processes. 

STAKEHOLDERS: The Landsat Program cuts across all the federal 
departments and agencies involved with CEES. Landsat data are 
fundamental in their basic and applied research programs that 
address global change issues.

POLICY RELEVANCE: 	Primary 	 Land use change, human 	
						interactions, biogeochemical  
						dynamics, ecosystem science
				Secondary	 Climate change

PROGRAM CONTACT:	Stanley R. Schneider
				Code YD
				NASA Headquarters
				Washington, DC 20024
				202-358-0255