ASTER stands for Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, an instrument aboard NASA’s Terra spacecraft that has been operating since 1999. Until recently a fee was charged to view images and data taken with it, either through NASA or Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI). Now those 2.95 million images are free to view for all with an Internet connection – that means you!
(Fogo Island, Cape Verde Republic. Image: NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)
The public will have unlimited access to the complete 16-plus-year database for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument, which images Earth to map and monitor the changing surface of our planet. ASTER’s database currently consists of more than 2.95 million individual scenes. The content ranges from massive scars across the Oklahoma landscape from an EF-5 tornado and the devastating aftermath of flooding in Pakistan, to volcanic eruptions in Iceland and wildfires in California.