Shuttle Mission That Mapped Earth Marks 10th Anniversary

Feb 12, 2010
3-D perspective view of Russia's volcanically active Kamchatka Peninsula, created using SRTM topographic data and an enhanced true-color image from the Landsat 7 satellite. Image credit: NASA/JPL

On Feb. 11, 2000, two radar antennas built by JPL launched aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on an 11-day mission to create the first-ever near-global high-resolution database of Earth's topography.

The international collected topographic data over nearly 80 percent of Earth's land surfaces, revealing for the first time large, detailed swaths of Earth's topography previously obscured by persistent cloudiness. The data benefit scientists, engineers, government agencies and the public alike, with applications that range from land-use planning to virtual Earth exploration.

NASA is currently using Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data to create an even better global topographic map by combining it with the more complete Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and global digital elevation model of Earth released last year by NASA and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Hop aboard as we take you on a virtual tour of some of the more "uplifting" topographic features of our home planet: www.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/slideshows/index.cfm?id=23 .

Explore further: SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

More information: For more information on the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, visit: www.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm

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