Landsat has been capturing change, both worldwide and of the American landscape for 40 years. NASA and U.S. Geological Survey scientists chose the 10 most significant images from this four-decade Landsat data record to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program.
Images from 1978 to 2011 show the massive growth of Beijing, from 7.89 million to more than 12 million people. Beijing's expansion is representative of the dramatic urbanization and industrialization of Asia during the Landsat era.
In 1988, the first publicized Landsat image of the Mexico-Guatemala border showed clear-cut forest in Mexico and untouched trees in Guatemala. This image had a profound impact on the leaders of the two nations and influenced the establishment in 1990 of Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve and other management and conservation efforts in Central America.
In 2007, more than 1,100 Landsat 7 images were used to create the first ever, high-resolution, true color map of Antarctica. The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica is a virtually cloud-free, 3-D view of Antarctica's frozen landscape.