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Sulawesi, Indonesia

Aug 27, 2023

Indonesia produces two thirds of the world's nickel from open pit mines. In southeast Sulawesi, about 50 nickel mining companies currently operate. In order to mine nickel, large areas of trees are cut down to create open pits. The areas of deforestation appear as reddish where the iron-rich soil is exposed; surrounded by bright green areas of tropical vegetation. The image was acquired 12 September 2019, covers an area of 38.3 by 65.2 km, and is located at 3.3 degrees south, 122.3 degrees east.

With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region and its high spatial resolution of about 50 to 300 feet (15 to 90 meters), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched Dec. 18, 1999, on Terra. The instrument was built by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. A joint U.S./Japan science team is responsible for validation and calibration of the instrument and data products.

The broad spectral coverage and high spectral resolution of ASTER provides scientists in numerous disciplines with critical information for surface mapping and monitoring of dynamic conditions and temporal change. Example applications are monitoring glacial advances and retreats; monitoring potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

The U.S. science team is located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

More information about ASTER is available at

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