Making the Old New Again: New Seasat Satellite Images from 35-Year-Old Raw Data


The Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) will release a treasure trove of new digital imagery derived from rich, 35-year-old satellite views of Earth on June 28, 2013.  The data were gathered in 1978 by NASA’s Seasat satellite, which supported the first non-military/civilian orbital synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ever deployed.  The release of the new images commemorates Seasat’s 35th launch anniversary on June 27 GMT, 2013.  The images will enable scientists to travel back in time for research on oceans, sea ice, volcanoes, forests, glaciers and more.   Previously, the images were available only on optical film strips, but ASF engineers were able to digitize the original SAR data from magnetic tapes, process it to imagery, and make it available through the ASF DAAC datapool.  Detected, ground range products are in the HDF5 format with ISO 19115 compatible metadata in XML format.  The Seasat data are the first HDF5 SAR products offered by the ASF DAAC and are available to download under NASA’s open-access data policy.