Scientists discuss federal role in hydraulic fracturing research

This post contributed by Terence Houston, ESA science policy analyst   The issue of hydraulic fracturing, a fairly new energy production method, has spurred intense debate, in part due unfamiliarity with the overall process. Recently on Capitol Hill, a group of federal scientists discussed their research in an attempt to inform the ongoing policy debate by Republicans and Democrats in Congress. On June 9, the United States Geological...

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Landsat 5 update: Thematic Mapper incommunicado
Jun05

Landsat 5 update: Thematic Mapper incommunicado

End of routine acquisitions for the Thematic Mapper, secondary sensor is still sending data. [update, 2014: the Landsat 8 mission launched successfully last year and the new satellite is sending great data back home.] By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer. The US Geological Survey’s Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper has been a faithful friend to ecologists. Recoding image data in seven bands covering visible, thermal, and infrared...

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Increase in magnitude 3+ earthquakes likely caused by oil and gas production (but not fracking)

by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer WE don’t typically think of the middle of the US as earthquake country, but small earthquakes, many just on the edge of perception, send shock waves through the prairies and southlands more than twenty times a year, on average,  and have done so since regular monitoring began circa 1970. They are becoming more common. Over the last few years, earthquakes in the magnitude 3-6 range have...

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Wintering pythons? Unlikely, but not impossible

This post contributed by Terence Houston, ESA Science Policy Analyst A commonly held sentiment is that cold winters prevent established non-native constrictors like the Burmese python in southern Florida from extending north. However, a recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service suggests that adaptability may eventually punch a hole in this notion. The FWS report studied the impacts of the January 2010 winter on the Burmese...

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Goodbye, Landsat 5
Dec15

Goodbye, Landsat 5

This post contributed by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer Four hundred miles above the Earth’s surface, a satellite slides into lonely oblivion. After collecting and broadcasting earthly imagery for a remarkable quarter century past its expected 3-year lifespan, Landsat 5 is failing. Over the years, US Geological Survey engineers have contrived quite a few patches and work-arounds for malfunctions on board their distant charge,...

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