Landsat: Farming Data From Space

  • Released Wednesday, February 12th, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:45PM

Landsat satellites have been gathering data for 48 years, equipping scientists and farmers to answer big questions about how to improve agriculture around the world. From tracking crop production, assessing crop health, and monitoring water use, Landsat data provides tangible benefits to the USA and the world. Landsat satellites are built and lauched by NASA, and operated by USGS.

Complete transcript available.

Music: "Lines of Enquiry" by Theo Golding [PRS], published by Atmosphere Music [PRS]

Watch this video on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

As the climate of our home planet changes, some places are drying out and others are getting wetter, including the land that produces the food we eat. Farmers are learning how to adapt to changing climate conditions.

NASA's fleet of satellites has been watching over Earth for more than half a century, collecting valuable data about the crops that make up our food supply and the water it takes to grow them. This wealth of information allows scientists to monitor farmland – tracking the overall food supply, where specific crops are grown, and how much water it takes to grow them with data from the Landsat satellites and others. And with that data, farmers can find new ways to grow more crops with less water.

As our climate changes, it’s more important than ever for farmers to have the knowledge they need to adapt their farming practices to a warming world. The data collected by our Earth-observing fleet helps farmers learn about the planet that sustains us – and make better decisions about how to cultivate it.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the USGS. Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth's changing landscapes for the benefit of all.

Visualization of farm fields in the Republican River Basin, colored according to the year they first were irrigated. This region is dominated by center pivot irrigation, resulting in the characteristic circular field shape. The water for irrigation is most commonly pumped from the High Plains Aquifer. Using Landsat data, combined with climate and environmental co-variables, scientist Jillian Deines and colleagues analysed irrigation across the High Plains Aquifer from 1984-2017. Image credit: Deines, et al, 2018.



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, unless otherwise indicated under the item.


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