On 21 December 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that Landsat 5 will be decommissioned over the coming months, bringing to a close the longest-operating Earth observing satellite mission in history. By any measure, the Landsat 5 mission has been an extraordinary success, providing unprecedented contributions to the global record of land change.
Landsat 5 captured an image of flooding occurring along the Iowa/Nebraska border on June 30, 2011. Flooding is still occurring on July 6, and Flood Warnings are still in effect from the National Weather Service.
The Landsat 5 image captured was an enlargement of the area just north of Omaha. The flood waters show up as very dark blue and, where the water is shallow, medium blue. In the image, the Interstate is cut off by flood waters, just south of Missouri Valley, Iowa, and about 20 miles north of Omaha.
Multiple firefighting agencies are using imagery -- provided by federally funded Landsat 5 and 7, Aqua and Terra satellites -- to combat wildfires that continue to blaze across Arizona.
The satellites capture images of the Earth's surface and then, using color enhancements, firefighters can identify different regions most susceptible to wildfire burning. In the images, burn scars are red, ongoing fires are bright red, vegetation is green, smoke is blue and bare ground is tan-colored.