image (2.1 Mb)
environmental impact of urban sprawl around fast-growing cities
can be documented and monitored from space. As an example, Salt
Lake City, Utah, has experienced rapid
population growth during the last 10 years.
view of Salt Lake City, photographed on June 14, 2003, from the
ISS, shows the city and its suburbs nestled between the Wasatch
Front and the Great Salt Lake. The core of Interstate Highway 15
runs north-south through the valley, with suburbs arrayed east and
west of the highway (annotated on the image). A photograph like
this one helps in visualizing the trade-offs between urban, agricultural
and wildlife uses of water in a desert environment.
issue facing Salt Lake City's growing population is preservation
and allocation of water resources. Utah is in its fifth year of
drought. One of the most dramatic effects of the drought visible
in this picture is the fact that the lake levels are so low that
Island is separated from the mainland by dry lakebed. This year,
it is so dry that it is possible to walk on the mudflat. The level
of Great Salt Lake has dropped more than 7 feet since the drought
began in 1999.
wetlands occur where freshwater flows from the Wasatch Range and
into the lake. The southern end of this network of wetlands can
be seen in the image. The Great
Salt Lake Wetland Ecosystem is recognized as being of hemispheric
importance by the Western
Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network and has been nominated
for inclusion on the Ramsar Convention
on Wetlands' list of Wetlands of International Significance.
Images of cities
taken from the International Space Station are one of the science
themes for the Crew
Earth Observations Project. Astronauts take detailed views using
long lenses that show roads and major buildings and synoptic views,
like this one, that show the entire urban area with suburbs and
surrounding lands in a single field of view.
was taken with a Kodak DCS760 digital camera. Image and text were
provided by the Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station
Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures
of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the
public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet.
Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed
at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut
Photography of Earth.