Radar Image from Space of Houston, Texas 

This image of Houston, Texas, shows the amount of detail that is possible to obtain using spaceborne radar imaging. Images such as this -- obtained by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) flying aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 1994 -- can become an effective tool for urban planners who map and monitor land use patterns in urban, agricultural and wetland areas. Houston appears in the upper right middle of the image, outlined and crisscrossed by freeways. The image was obtained on October 10, 1994, during the space shuttle's 167th orbit. The area shown is 100 kilometers by 60 kilometers (62 miles by 38 miles) and is centered at 29.38 degrees north latitude, 95.1 degrees west longitude. North is toward the upper left. The pink areas designate urban development while the green- and blue-patterned areas are agricultural fields. Black areas are bodies of water. The black rectangle with a white center that appears to the left of the city center is the Houston Astrodome.

Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.v.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations, and data processing of X-SAR.

The above image has been rotated, cropped, and resized for clarity. The original image cut a diagonal path from Houston down to the island of Galveston.

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Thank you to NASA for providing this image and information.

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Diane C. Moser

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