Researchers report on new tool to provide even better Landsat images

February 1, 2016, SPIE
JPL researchers report on new tool to provide even better Landsat images
JPL researchers report in Optical Engineering on a new imaging spectrometer design to improve Landsat images. Above, Fig. 3: Spectrometer ray-trace in the spectral direction. The two reflecting prisms and planoconvex element are made of CaF2. The grating aperture as shown is 14 cm in diameter. Credit: Pantazis Mouroulis, JPL, et al.

For more than 40 years, Landsat satellites have provided a wealth of data that has informed our understanding of Earth features, phenomena, and environments as diverse as coral reefs, urbanization, tropical deforestation, and glaciers. Now, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology have developed a way to substantially improve images derived from Landsat systems.

Pantazis Mouroulis and colleagues at JPL describe in a new article published in Optical Engineering the design of a high-throughput and high-uniformity pushbroom imaging spectrometer and telescope system that is capable providing Landsat swath and resolution with better than 10 nm per pixel spectral resolution over the full visible to short-wave infrared band.

The Landsat 8 satellite carries a thermal infrared sensor and an operational land imager (OLI). The OLI replaced a thematic mapper found in the previous Landsat generations, which used a scan mirror to cover the required wide swath. OLI instead utilizes long detector arrays in a pushbroom fashion, the authors note in "Landsat swath imaging spectrometer design."

While the removal of the scan mirror is an advance in terms of signal to noise, reliability, and potential simplicity of design, the OLI design still suffers from registration concerns between bands owing to the nonsimultaneity of data collection.

An imaging spectrometer does not suffer that problem since it is capable of collecting all bands simultaneously.

Even more important is the enhanced science potential that the full spectroscopic capability brings, the authors note.

"However," they write, "it has been generally difficult to find optical spectrometer and system solutions that satisfy the swath, resolution, spectral range, and signal to noise ratio of the heritage systems. We present in this paper a pushbroom imaging spectrometer design that can achieve these objectives."

Journal associate editor Thomas Cooley, a senior scientist with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab, emphasized the significance of the report, noting that it demonstrates new capabilities in "what is technically possible with advances in a range of supporting technology domains."

Explore further: Critical milestone reached for 2012 Landsat Mission

More information: Pantazis Mouroulis et al. Landsat swath imaging spectrometer design, Optical Engineering (2016). DOI: 10.1117/1.OE.55.1.015104

Related Stories

Critical milestone reached for 2012 Landsat Mission

August 9, 2011

The Operational Land Imager (OLI), built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo., has been approved by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for shipment to Orbital Sciences Corporation, Gilbert, Ariz. for integration ...

Landsat looks to the Moon (w/ Video)

July 12, 2014

Every full moon, Landsat 8 turns its back on Earth. As the satellite's orbit takes it to the nighttime side of the planet, Landsat 8 pivots to point at the moon. It scans the distant lunar surface multiple times, then flips ...

Eighth Landsat satellite arrives at launch site

December 20, 2012

An oversized semi-trailer truck carrying NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) has arrived at its launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for launch. This NASA and U.S. Geological Survey ...

NASA provides a look at post-blizzard snowfall and winds

January 26, 2016

NASA satellites obtained a number of different views of the great winter storm that left many snowfall records from Virginia to New York City from January 22 to 24, 2016. RapidScat provided a look at the strong winds that ...

NASA prepares for launch of next Earth observation satellite

January 10, 2013

NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) is scheduled to launch Feb. 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A joint NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission, LDCM will add to the longest continuous data ...

NASA Landsat's thermal infrared sensor arrives at Orbital

February 14, 2012

A new NASA satellite instrument that makes a quantum leap forward in detector technology has arrived at Orbital Sciences Corp. in Gilbert, Ariz. There it will be integrated into the next Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data ...

Recommended for you

Top takeaways from Consumers Electronics Show

January 13, 2018

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded Friday in Las Vegas, drew some 4,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries and more than 170,000 attendees, showcased some of the latest from the technology world.

Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

January 12, 2018

A new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.