In 1979, China established two special economic zones around the Pearl River Delta, north of Hong Kong. This image, taken by Landsat 3 on October 19, 1973, shows that the region was rural when the zone was established. Plant-covered land, which is red in this false-color image, dominates the scene. Square grids are agriculture.
By January 10, 2003, when Landsat 7 took this image, the Pearl River Delta was a densely populated urban corridor with several large cities. The urban areas are gray in this image. The region is a major manufacturing center with an economy the size of Taiwan’s. As of 2010, the Pearl River Economic Zone had a population of 36 million people.
NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior through the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) jointly manage Landsat, and the USGS preserves a 40-year archive of Landsat images that is freely available over the Internet. The next Landsat satellite, now known as the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and later to be called Landsat 8, is scheduled for launch in 2013.
In honor of Landsat’s 40th anniversary in July 2012, the USGS released the LandsatLook viewer – a quick, simple way to go forward and backward in time, pulling images of anywhere in the world out of the Landsat archive.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.
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