STS059-S-027 (10 April 1994) --- This image is a false-color composite of Raco, Michigan, centered at 46.39 degrees north latitude, 84.88 degrees east longitude. This image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on its 6th orbit and during the first full-capacity test of the instrument. This image was produced using both L-Band and C-Band data. The area shown is approximately 20 kilometers by 50 kilometers. Raco is located at the eastern end of Michigan's upper peninsula, west of Sault Ste. Marie and south of Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. The site is located at the boundary between the boreal forests and the northern temperate forests, a transitional zone that is expected to be ecologically sensitive to anticipated global changes resulting from climatic warming. On any given day, there is a 60 percent chance that this area will be obscured to some extent by cloud cover which makes it difficult to image using optical sensors. In this color representation (Red=LHH, Green=LHV, Blue=CHH), darker areas in the image are smooth surfaces such as frozen lakes and other non-forested areas. The colors are related to the types of trees and the brightness is related to the amount of plant material covering the surface, called forest biomass. Accurate information about land-cover is important to area resource managers and for use in regional- to global-scale scientific models used to understand global change. SIR-C/X-SAR radars illuminate Earth with microwaves allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-Band (24 cm), C-Band (6 cm), and X-Band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). X-SAR was developed by the Dornire and Alenia Spazio Companies for the German Space Agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian Space Agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).
JPL Photo ID: P-43882