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In many parts of the world, wetlands are being converted to shrimp ponds in order to farm these crustaceans for food and sale. One example is on the west coast of Ecuador, south of Guayaquil. The 1991 Landsat image on top shows a coastal area where 143 square kilometers of wetlands were converted to shrimp ponds. By the time ASTER acquired the bottom image in 2001, 243 square kilometers had been converted, eliminating 83% of the wetlands. These scenes cover an area of 30 x 31 km, and are centered near 3.4 degrees south latitude and 80.2 degrees west longitude. With its 14 spectral bands from the visible to the thermal infrared wavelength region, and its high spatial resolution of 15 to 90 meters (about 50 to 300 feet), ASTER images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER is one of five Earth-observing instruments launched December 18, 1999, on NASA's Terra satellite. 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 the 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, Pasadena, Calif. The Terra mission is part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Size: 30 by 31 kilometers (18.6 by 19.2 miles) Location: 3.4 degrees South latitude, 80.2 degrees West longitude Orientation: North at top Image Data: Landsat bands 4,3 and 2; ASTER bands 3, 2, and 1 Original Data Resolution: Landsat 30 meters (24.6 feet); ASTER 15 meters (49.2 feet) Dates Acquired: Landsat: April 29, 1991; ASTER March 31, 2001
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