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Stories | December 16, 2020

From Space to Farm

By NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Scientific Visualization Studio

Farmers rely on the accuracy of a crucial NASA and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) mission, Landsat, to make decisions about crops. Those decisions have far-reaching implications that can impact what you see on your dinner plate!

In this video, you can hear Landsat's view of crops from space in the form of a song, called a data sonification. Every sound carries meaning. Six notes of an acoustic guitar indicate the current top six crops by acreage, in order: corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa, cotton and sorghum. In each year, the pitch of these notes indicates the acreage recorded by Landsat for those six crops. Higher pitches indicate more acreage, and a low percussive sound distinguishes each year.

The data sonification was produced by System Sounds for NASA's Curious Universe podcast.

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the USGS. Landsat satellites have been consistently gathering data about our planet since 1972. They continue to improve and expand this unparalleled record of Earth's changing landscapes for the benefit of all.

Tags: agriculture curious universe landsat science meets art water