Japan’s space agency released the first photographs taken by the Daichi-2 advanced land observation satellite on July 27, which showed detailed images of the aftermath of last October’s deadly mudslides on Izu-Oshima island.
“The images turned out to be finer than we had expected,” said Masanobu Shimada, science program leader at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Earth Observation Research Center. “We have great expectations for the new satellite in helping us grasp of the scope of damage in natural disasters and monitor the Earth for changes in the environment.”
The images were taken June 19-21 at an altitude of 628 kilometers.
The images of Izu-Oshima island, about 100 kilometers south of Tokyo, revealed streaks on the surface of Mount Mihara that were left behind after the Oct. 16 typhoon dumped heavy rains on the island, creating mudslides that killed more than 30 people.
The satellite also took photos of 3,776-meter-high Mount Fuji, capturing detailed images of the geographic contours of Japan’s tallest peak.
Launched into orbit in May, the Daichi-2 satellite is capable of distinguishing ground objects as small as 1 to 3 meters in length and has a resolution five to 15 times higher than its predecessor, the Daichi. The Daichi-2’s ability to shoot images of the Earth’s surface at night and when it is cloudy is also greatly improved from the Daichi.
Images of the shrinking Amazon rain forests in South America were also taken by the Daichi-2.
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Images captured by the satellite can be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKi6wOnezig
JAXA’s press release is shown at http://global.jaxa.jp/press/2014/06/20140627_daichi2.html