Recent NASA Features

  • Carlton Complex Fire, WashingtonThe Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometers (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites captured these images of the Carlton Complex Fire in July 2014. Ignited by lightning on July 14, the blaze had charred nearly 370 square miles (960 square kilometers) of forest in northern Washington by July 21. About 200 homes have been lost to the fire, according to news reports. The above image shows the fire on July 18; clicking on the image shows it on July 20. Actively burning areas, detected by the thermal bands on MODIS, are outlined in red. References: InciWeb (2014, July 21) Carlton Complex. Accessed July 21, 2014. King5 (2014, July 21) Carlton Complex: 4 times size of Seattle Accessed July 21, 2014. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Adam Voiland. Instrument(s): Aqua-MODIS
  • Fires in Indonesia, July 2014Terra and Aqua satellites detected 154 hotspots in areas across Riau province on Sunday, July 20, indicating forest and land fires had increased again following a decline in rainfall.  The number of detected hotspots in Sunday's report was far higher than what had been reported one day prior, which had reached only 75 spots. The hotspots were scattered in six regencies and municipalities, most of which were in northern Riau coastal areas. Smoke and the related haze it creates could potentially spread via winds to Malaysia and Singapore as it seems to be doing in this image. The smoke released by any type of fire is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials. All smoke contains carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter (PM or soot).  The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.  Smoke degrades air quality and precautions should be taken when around it. This natural-color satellite image was collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Terra satellite on July 20, 2014. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.  NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption: NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner
  • More People Means More Plant Growth, NASA Data ShowNew analysis shows that, on a global scale, the presence of people corresponds to more plant productivity.

+ Read more NASA features about Terra.

Earth Observatory Features

+ Read more Terra features on the Earth Observatory.

Classic Terra Features

  • Terra satelliteTerra Fact Sheet

    This article provides an overview of the Terra mission.
  • Terra mission control roomLearning to Fly
    May 2000

    The launch and activation of Terra as seen through the eyes of mission control.
  • Map depicting net primary productionTerra Turns Five
    February 2005

    After five years in operation, Terra provides valuable scientific information about the cause and effects of environmental change.
  • Earth Observatory Earth Observatory 10th Anniversary
    April 2009

    The idea of the Earth Observatory was hatched in the late 1990s to distribute images and information from the Terra mission.
  • NASA's Earth Observing SatellitesPerspectives: Why EOS Matters
    September 2009

    These two opinion essays, written a decade apart, reflect on the value of the Terra mission and the Earth Observing System.