I spy

Look: 6 stunning images from Landsat 9, NASA’s new Earth-monitoring satellite

Somebody’s watching you ... from space.

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We know the Earth is constantly changing, but sometimes it helps to see the bigger picture from space.

The Landsat program, managed by NASA and USGS, has been snapping photos of Earth since 1972.

In September 2021, NASA launched its newest satellite into orbit: Landsat 9.

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Its predecessor Landsat 8 has captured stunning views since 2013, such as this one of a plume of smoke rising from a fire near Kiev, Ukraine in 2015.

USGS/NASA Landsat/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty Images

NASA

Landsat 9 has to undergo a 100-day testing period where researchers ensure that all its systems are working properly from low-Earth orbit.

But on October 31, the satellite captured its first images of the planet and sent them back down to Earth.

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These will be the first of many snapshots that we’ll see from Landsat 9.

NASA says the data will help people such as researchers, farmers, and city planners keep an eye on Earth at a time of unprecedented change.

Here are the first 6 incredible images from Landsat 9:

NASA

6. Clouds float over the Kimberly region of Western Australia, where remote islands and inlets dot the sea.

NASA/USGS

5. Here’s the vast Navajo Nation from space. It has seen worsening drought in recent years, and satellite data can help monitor the problem’s severity and spread.

NASA/USGS

4. These ice-capped mountains are a patch of the Himalayas between China and Nepal. New images will be able to monitor how quickly the ice melts due to climate change.

NASA/USGS

3. Landsat 9 can capture images at different wavelengths, including thermal radiation.

NASA/USGS

2. Florida’s Pensacola Beach, located in the panhandle, is prone to rising sea levels in the coming years — an effect that Landsat can help track.

NASA/USGS

1. This image captures the meeting point between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. Surrounding lakes can host harmful algae blooms in the summer. Landsat 9 can help monitor for safe drinking water and recreation.

NASA/USGS