Studying River Deltas Using Astronaut Photography

This is a guest post from Amy Jagge, Image Data Scientist, and part of our Johnson Space Center (JSC) Image Detective Science Team

Astronaut Photograph (ISS005-E-15998, 80mm, 10/03/2002) Ganges River Delta. Credit: NASA

River deltas provide valuable resources to marine and terrestrial species including humans. Deltas are low-lying plains that form at the mouth of a river where water and sediment are typically deposited into a large body of water, such as the ocean (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Deltas). The accumulated sediment and water type variations created by converging aquatic environments can create diverse habitats as well as natural and economic resources for local populations.

Deltas are dynamic environments whose abiotic and biotic components depend on the rivers that sustain them and the environment that interacts with them. Using remotely-sensed scientific data, such as astronaut photography along with other Earth-observing sensors, scientists can gain a valuable temporal and spatial perspective on the natural and anthropogenic causes that may affect a delta’s morphology, habitable conditions, and sustainability.

NASA’s publically accessible Astronaut Photography of Earth database made available through the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth website curated by the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at the Johnson Space Center houses over 2 million images taken by astronauts from space.

With CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 tool, Citizen Scientists around the world have the opportunity to enhance NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth database by identifying the center point location of astronaut photos. With center point locations, scientists can quickly search and download the scientific data they need to study deltas worldwide.

Go to CosmoQuest’s Image Detective 2.0 to identify the center point of astronaut photographs such as the one below, and advance scientific research by enhancing NASA’s Astronaut Photography of Earth database!

Astronaut Photograph (ISS024-E-9807, 180mm, 07/29/2010) of Volga River Delta. Credit: NASA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA Ocean Service Education: Deltas. Available at: Accessed: 01/18/2018.

About ajagge

Amy Jagge is an Image Data Scientist, and part of our Johnson Space Center (JSC) Image Detective Science Team

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