On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 the science team working on LIMA—from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS)—announced the details of the project. It is being called “the most geographically accurate depiction of the full continent ever made.” [MSNBC]
The Goddard Space Flight Center website for LIMA, to access the map, is “Landsat Image Mosaic Of Antarctica (LIMA)”.
Because of the improvement in clarity of the images produced by LIMA over previous images, the science team says that it will enhance the ability of scientists to learn more about the frozen region.
In fact, Robert Bindschader, who is the chief scientist of the NASA Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, stated, “It will open new windows of opportunity for scientific research as well as enable the public to become much more familiar with Antarctica and how scientists use imagery in their research.” Bindschader compared it with “watching high-definition TV in living color versus watching the picture on a grainy black-and-white telesvision.” [ABS-CBN News]
The map consists of about 1,100 images taken by the NASA satellite Landsat 7 between 1999 and 2001. Details are said to be about the size of one-half of a basketball court.
Landsat 7 is the most recent satellite launched from the Landsat program. It was launched on April 15, 1999. It is in a polar, sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 425 miles (705 kilometers). Landsat 7 generates three-dimensional images through the NASA World Wind project. It is managed by NASA and its data collected and distributed by the USGS.
To learn more about the LIMA map and to access its features go to the NASA Life on Earth website called “NASA-Conceived Map of Antarctica Lays Ground for New Discoveries.”