Ter­raSAR-X

TerraSAR-X image of DLR Experimental Solar Thermal Power Plant in Jülich

Ter­raSAR-X im­age of DLR Ex­per­i­men­tal So­lar Ther­mal Pow­er Plant in Jülich

March 11, 2013  2153 mir­rors twist and turn at the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) Ex­per­i­men­tal So­lar Ther­mal Pow­er Plant in Jülich, di­rect­ing sun­light on­to a 22-square-me­tre re­ceiv­er. Ter­raSAR-X, the Ger­man radar satel­lite op­er­at­ed by DLR, can al­so de­tect the mir­rors as they fol­low the Sun – from more than 500 kilo­me­tres above Earth. The re­flec­tions of the radar sig­nals make the tow­er and mir­ror ar­ray ap­pear as bright spots of light.


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Image 1/32, Credit: @DLR
TerraSAR-X image of Christmas Island

Ter­raSAR-X im­age of Christ­mas Is­land

January 3, 2013  Christ­mas Is­land is a 135-square-kilo­me­tre is­land in the In­di­an Ocean. In the im­age ac­quired with the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) Ter­raSAR-X radar satel­lite, one thing is clear – even to­day, trop­i­cal rain­for­est pro­lif­er­ates on the is­land and the coastal cliffs con­tin­ue to make life dif­fi­cult for mariners.


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Image 2/32, Credit: @DLR
Radar image of the Santorini archipelago

Radar im­age of the San­tori­ni archipela­go

November 15, 2012  British re­searchers have used im­ages ac­quired by the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) Ter­raSAR-X satel­lite to cre­ate a map show­ing changes in the San­tori­ni archipela­go. The cause of the de­for­ma­tion is the San­tori­ni vol­cano lo­cat­ed be­neath the archipela­go. In some places, the Ka­meni Is­lands in­side the flood­ed caldera have risen by eight to 14 cen­time­tres. The breadth of the caldera as a whole has in­creased by about 14 cen­time­tres since ear­ly 2011. In the anal­y­sis of the radar da­ta, the red and yel­low shad­ing shows the ar­eas where the ground has risen the most. The main is­land of Thi­ra is un­af­fect­ed by the de­for­ma­tion, thus ap­pear­ing blue.


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Image 3/32, Credit: @DLR
TerraSAR-X radar satellite image of salt flats

Ter­raSAR-X radar satel­lite im­age of salt flats

October 17, 2012  The Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter's (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) Ter­raSAR-X radar satel­lite or­bits Earth at an al­ti­tude of 514 kilo­me­tres. It ac­quired this im­age of the Bon­neville Salt Flats in the USA at 13:40 lo­cal time on 23 June 2009. The black rep­re­sents ar­eas of wa­ter, where radar sig­nals trans­mit­ted by the satel­lite are re­flect­ed away by the smooth sur­face of the wa­ter. The city of Wen­dover is con­spic­u­ous in the up­per half of this space radar im­age, with the or­ange colour­ing in­di­cat­ing a strong in­crease in the lo­cal vari­ance of the re­turn sig­nal, due to di­rect or mul­ti­ple re­flec­tions off the build­ings and streets.


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Image 4/32, Credit: @DLR
Berlin Central Station on the move

Berlin Cen­tral Sta­tion on the move

June 14, 2012  Us­ing Ter­raSAR X da­ta, Berlin Cen­tral Sta­tion was mea­sured hor­i­zon­tal­ly and ver­ti­cal­ly over the course of a year. In the warm sea­son, the steel struc­ture of the build­ing ex­pands; in win­ter, it con­tracts again. Based on the coloured dots, the max­i­mum de­for­ma­tion in the course of one year can be seen to be in the mil­lime­tre range. The hor­i­zon­tal move­ment is vis­i­ble in the left-hand im­age, and the ver­ti­cal move­ment of the sta­tion struc­ture is shown in the right-hand im­age.


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Image 5/32, Credit: Stefan Gernhardt, TU München
Radar view of the Mackenzie River

Radar view of the Macken­zie Riv­er

February 27, 2012  Radar sig­nals from the Ter­raSAR-X satel­lite can pen­e­trate the up­per lay­ers of snow and ice that cov­er the Macken­zie Riv­er in Cana­da. The shades of colour en­able DLR re­searchers to draw con­clu­sions about the ice for­ma­tions and var­i­ous sub­sur­faces.


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Image 6/32, Credit: @DLR
The desert lives – the festival is in full swing!

The desert lives – the fes­ti­val is in full swing!

October 24, 2011  The tents and ve­hi­cles are clear­ly vis­i­ble in this radar im­age. The ar­ti­fi­cial struc­tures have been coloured to make them more eas­i­ly vis­i­ble; the ac­tu­al radar im­age is black and white.


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Image 7/32, Credit: @DLR
With some 15 million inhabitants, Istanbul is one of the world's megacities

With some 15 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants, Is­tan­bul is one of the world's megac­i­ties

May 19, 2011  Ter­raSAR-X pro­vides a de­tailed view of the city from over 500 kilo­me­tres up. The air­port can be seen to the west – the taxi­ways and run­ways re­flect the radar sig­nals away from the satel­lite, caus­ing the as­phalt sur­faces to ap­pear as black lines. There is dense hous­ing where yel­low is pre­dom­i­nates. The con­struc­tion of the Bospho­rus bridges has been a pri­ma­ry driv­er for the growth of the city. The ur­ban­i­sa­tion snakes along the Bospho­rus right down to the Black Sea. In the city it­self, on­ly a few ar­eas re­main un­de­vel­oped and are thus shown in green. This is the case on the head­land where the Gold­en Horn, an in­let, ex­tends in­to the Eu­ro­pean part. Hav­ing an ex­clu­sive panoram­ic view of the city and few neigh­bours, this is where the Top­kapi Palace, the for­mer res­i­dence and seat of gov­ern­ment of the Sul­tans, is lo­cat­ed. Even the ships that sail on the Sea of Mar­mara or the Bospho­rus do not es­cape the 'radar eyes' of Ter­raSAR-X.


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Image 8/32, Credit: @DLR
The port of Sendai after the tsunami

The port of Sendai af­ter the tsuna­mi

May 12, 2011  This Ter­raSAR-X im­age, ac­quired on 12 March 2011, shows that the port of the Japanese city of Sendai has been dev­as­tat­ed by the tsuna­mi. The ma­gen­ta-coloured ar­eas re­veal the ex­tent of dam­age in the form of boul­ders and de­bris de­posits; the blue ar­eas are flood­ed.


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Image 9/32, Credit: @DLR
The iceberg breaks free

The ice­berg breaks free

February 22, 2011  A small is­land ob­structs the con­stant flow of the ice shelf on Queen Maud Land – it is the lighter area at the bot­tom left of the im­age. From Septem­ber 2010 un­til it broke off, Ice­berg A 62 was con­nect­ed to the Fim­bul Ice Shelf by a mere 800-me­tre-wide bridge. Two fis­sures in the ice from dif­fer­ent sides of the bridge ap­proached one an­oth­er un­til the break oc­curred. The im­ages trans­mit­ted by the radar satel­lite Ter­raSAR-X over a long pe­ri­od of time should en­able re­searchers to achieve a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how ice­bergs calve. Un­til now, glaciol­o­gists have not been able to pre­dict where and how much ice will break away each year.


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Image 10/32, Credit: @DLR
The Nimrod Glacier flowing around an ice peak

The Nim­rod Glacier flow­ing around an ice peak

July 27, 2011  The de­tailed pic­ture of around 30 kilo­me­tres sent from the Ter­raSAR-X radar satel­lite shows the Antarc­tic Nim­rod Glacier flow­ing around the Kon-Ti­ki Nunatak, a rock pro­trud­ing through the ice sheet. It is even pos­si­ble to pick out the fis­sures in the glacier’s main body.


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Image 11/32, Credit: @DLR
TerraSAR-X image of Gabon, 60 kilometres south east of the capital Libreville

Ter­raSAR-X im­age of Gabon, 60 kilo­me­tres south east of the cap­i­tal Li­bre­ville

July 27, 2011  This im­age from the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (Deutsches Zen­trum für Luft- und Raum­fahrt; DLR) Ter­raSAR-X satel­lite shows an area of the West African coun­try of Gabon. The for­est cov­er spans 210,000 square kilo­me­tres – 70 per­cent of the coun­try's en­tire land area. The satel­lite im­age shows an un­in­hab­it­ed area around 60 kilo­me­tres south east of the cap­i­tal, Li­bre­ville, in the vicin­i­ty of the Ko­mo Riv­er delta. The flat sur­face of the riv­er it­self re­flects the radar sig­nals away from the satel­lite and ap­pears as a dark area in the im­age. The forest­ed area, on the oth­er hand, has a rough tex­ture when seen from space, which re­turns the radar sig­nal to the Ter­raSAR-X at vary­ing in­ten­si­ties. Such im­ages en­able sci­en­tists at the Friedrich Schiller Uni­ver­si­ty of Je­na, to con­tribute to the Unit­ed Na­tions' Glob­al For­est Re­sources As­sess­ment. This is the first time radar imag­ing from space has been used for this pur­pose.


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Image 12/32, Credit: @DLR
Oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico

Oil slick in the Gulf of Mex­i­co

July 27, 2011  Ter­raSAR-X mapped the oil-pol­lut­ed area in the Gulf of Mex­i­co in a se­ries of im­ages ac­quired on 9 Ju­ly 2010. The en­vi­ron­men­tal catas­tro­phe start­ed on 20 April 2010 when an ex­plo­sion sank the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon drilling rig and the shut-off valves on the well­head could not be closed. The Ar­ti­fi­cial Bar­ri­er Is­land, an ar­ti­fi­cial is­land con­struct­ed by heap­ing dredged sand, sit­u­at­ed to the east of the Chan­deleur Is­lands, is eas­i­ly recog­nis­able in the Ter­raSAR-X im­agery and it will soon be awash with spilled oil. “The im­agery in­di­cates that man-made con­struc­tions can­not of­fer much pro­tec­tion,” re­ports Su­sanne Lehn­er, team lead­er of radar oceanog­ra­phy at the DLR Re­mote Sens­ing Tech­nol­o­gy In­sti­tute (In­sti­tut für Methodik der Fern­erkun­dung; IMF).


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Image 13/32, Credit: @DLR
Mexico City

Mex­i­co City

July 27, 2011  For the last four months, the Ger­man Aerospace Cen­tre's (DLR) radar satel­lite, Ter­raSAR-X, has been imag­ing Mex­i­co City from space. Amongst oth­er things, the im­ages show that even with­in this imag­ing pe­ri­od, the ground has sunk by as much as 10 cen­time­tres in some places. Ar­eas of the Mex­i­can cap­i­tal in which Ter­raSAR-X has record­ed the great­est changes in ground lev­el are coloured dark red. The green ar­eas in­di­cate those in which no change has been de­tect­ed by the su­per­po­si­tion of the radar im­ages be­tween 20 Septem­ber 2009 and 30 Jan­uary 2010. One of the rea­sons for this sub­si­dence is the ex­trac­tion of ground­wa­ter. To cre­ate this an im­age, the Ter­raSAR-X radar equip­ment was op­er­at­ed in a spe­cial 'wide-an­gle mode', the 'ScanSAR mode', in which a strip of land 100 kilo­me­tres wide can be de­pict­ed in one piece. As the radar is usu­al­ly ca­pa­ble of 'il­lu­mi­nat­ing' a sig­nif­i­cant­ly small­er area of land – about 30 kilo­me­tres across, a spe­cial trick has to be used in or­der to ob­tain a greater strip width. For this pur­pose, the radar beam is re­peat­ed­ly swung from short to long range, so that, first of all, a small area mea­sur­ing 25 x 3 kilo­me­tres is il­lu­mi­nat­ed at close range. Then, more dis­tant ar­eas – off­set by 25 kilo­me­tres – are il­lu­mi­nat­ed, un­til four par­tial strips of the im­age have been scanned. The pro­cess is then re­peat­ed. Fi­nal­ly, a mon­tage is pro­duced from the in­di­vid­u­al scenes. The cost of the larg­er scene is a re­duc­tion in res­o­lu­tion from three me­tres to six­teen me­tres, but this caus­es no re­stric­tions for nu­mer­ous ap­pli­ca­tions. Such a record­ing mode is made pos­si­ble by the elec­tron­i­cal­ly steered phased-ar­ray an­ten­na, which fa­cil­i­tates the rapid and in­er­tia-free move­ment of the radar beam. The im­age of Mex­i­co City was cre­at­ed by means of a re­fined scan­ning method known as Ter­rain Ob­ser­va­tion by Pro­gres­sive Scans (TOPS) mode, which avoids the weak­ness of the clas­sic ScanSAR – the vary­ing il­lu­mi­na­tion of in­di­vid­u­al sur­face patch­es. The re­sult is an im­age with­out any vari­a­tions in bright­ness.


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Image 14/32, Credit: @DLR
Thunderstorm off the Caribbean coast of Panama

Thun­der­storm off the Caribbean coast of Pana­ma

June 27, 2011  This Ter­raSAR-X im­age shows a thun­der­storm cell with un­usu­al­ly heavy rain­fall off the Caribbean coast of Pana­ma, vis­i­ble across in the up­per half of this im­age as a blurred area. The scene record­ed here ex­tends over an area of about 18 by 64 kilo­me­tres and was gen­er­at­ed in du­al-po­lar­i­sa­tion mode, a method that sub­stan­tial­ly in­creas­es the in­for­ma­tion con­tent of an im­age.The colours are cre­at­ed by su­per­im­pos­ing two sep­a­rate im­ages (red and green) of the same area tak­en si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly in this mode us­ing two sig­nals hav­ing dif­fer­ent po­lar­i­sa­tion set­tings, to­geth­er with a third im­age (blue) which is cal­cu­lat­ed from the dif­fer­ence be­tween the orig­i­nal im­ages. Now, the dif­fer­ent re­flec­tion mech­a­nisms be­come vis­i­ble – the green coloura­tion in­di­cates a sur­face re­flec­tion, where the radar sig­nal is be­ing re­flect­ed straight back to the an­ten­na. Red tones in­di­cate a dou­ble re­flec­tion, and there is vir­tu­al­ly no in­di­ca­tion of this in the scene de­pict­ed here, since it oc­curs pri­mar­i­ly in ur­ban ar­eas. Blue tones can be seen in the area of the thun­der­storm cell, and are des­ig­nat­ed as 'vol­ume scat­ter' be­cause the sig­nal is re­flect­ed back to the radar an­ten­na by a mul­ti­plic­i­ty of in­di­vid­u­al rain­drops and hail­stones.


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Image 15/32, Credit: @DLR
England - TerraSAR-X shows flooding

Eng­land - Ter­raSAR-X shows flood­ing

February 22, 2011  One of the ap­pli­ca­tions of Ter­raSAR-X is map­ping ar­eas in­un­dat­ed by floods. Tak­en on 25 Ju­ly 2007, the pho­to shows the towns of Glouces­ter (bot­tom) and Chel­tenham (cen­tre right) dur­ing the flood. Ap­pear­ing quite dark, the ar­eas flood­ed by the riv­er Sev­ern can be seen very clear­ly along the left side of the en­tire im­age. Even at this ear­ly point in time, the DLR Cen­tre for Satel­lite-as­sist­ed Cri­sis In­for­ma­tion (ZKI) at the Ger­man Re­mote Sens­ing Da­ta Cen­tre (DFD) in Oberp­faf­fen­hofen used da­ta trans­mit­ted by the Ter­raSAR-X satel­lite dur­ing the flood to de­vel­op maps to sup­port re­lief forces on the spot.


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Image 16/32, Credit: DLR/Infoterra GmbH; date: July 25, 2007, 06:34 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (image reduced); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: HH
Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarc­ti­ca

February 22, 2011  On the east coast of the Antarc­tic Penin­su­la, lies the Larsen Ice Shelf – a sheet of ice which, float­ing on the sea and reach­ing far be­yond the main­land, has made the head­lines re­peat­ed­ly in re­cent years be­cause it keeps los­ing spec­tac­u­lar amounts of ice. The Larsen Ice Shelf con­sists of three parts that fol­low the east coast from north to south. It is thought that the ice shelves are dis­in­te­grat­ing be­cause tem­per­a­tures in the re­gion have been ris­ing marked­ly in the last 50 years. As this re­moves a ma­jor ob­sta­cle to the move­ment of glaciers from the main­land to the open sea, sci­en­tists ex­pect the flow rates of the main­land glaciers in the re­gion to in­crease. Ter­raSAR-X per­mits more pre­cise mea­sur­ing of glacier flow rates, en­abling sci­en­tists to fore­cast vari­a­tions in the melt rates of the glaciers on the main­land and their im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment with much greater pre­ci­sion.


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Image 17/32, Credit: DLR; date: June 26, 2007, 23:31 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: VV.
Nördlinger Ries in the Swabian Jura – radar data for agriculture

Nördlinger Ries in the Swabi­an Ju­ra – radar da­ta for agri­cul­ture

February 22, 2011  Lo­cat­ed in the mid­dle of the Swabi­an Ju­ra, the Nördlinger Ries is a flat, al­most cir­cu­lar struc­ture mea­sur­ing about 20 kilo­me­tres in di­am­e­ter. Grad­u­al­ly filled in and flat­tened by ero­sion, the crater was caused by the im­pact of a me­te­orite about 15 mil­lion years ago. At its cen­tre stands the town of Nördlin­gen, sur­round­ed by fields which are cul­ti­vat­ed, as doc­u­ment­ed by the struc­tures that ra­di­ate away from the city. In the cen­tre of Nördlin­gen, the pho­to­graph shows the com­plete­ly pre­served ring wall that sur­rounds the old town. The da­ta pro­vid­ed by Ter­raSAR-X per­mits study­ing mi­crostruc­tures in de­tail as well as analysing sur­face for­ma­tions and land use. In this ex­ten­sive­ly cul­ti­vat­ed re­gion, al­so of great ge­o­log­i­cal in­ter­est, the radar da­ta sup­plied by Ter­raSAR-X will be an im­por­tant source of in­for­ma­tion for anal­y­sis as well as for im­prov­ing agri­cul­tur­al util­i­sa­tion.


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Image 18/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 1, 2007, 23:00 UTC; original resolution: 1 metre (reduced image); mode: high resolution spotlight mode; polarisation: HH.
Mato Grosso, Brazil – radar documents logging in the Central Brazilian rainforest

Ma­to Grosso, Brazil – radar doc­u­ments log­ging in the Cen­tral Brazil­ian rain­for­est

February 22, 2011  In the Ma­to Grosso province in the Brazil­ian south­west, no more than 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple live in a ter­ri­to­ry al­most three times as large as the Fed­er­al Re­pub­lic of Ger­many. The north of the province is dom­i­nat­ed by the fringes of the Ama­zon rain­for­est where log­ging has been par­tic­u­lar­ly ex­ten­sive in re­cent years. Be­cause of their dif­fer­ent re­flec­tion char­ac­ter­is­tics, clear­ings ap­pear in the radar im­age as rect­an­gu­lar, rel­a­tive­ly dark zones with­in the oth­er­wise ho­mo­ge­neous sur­face of the for­est. Cov­er­ing large ar­eas with op­ti­cal cam­eras mount­ed in satel­lites is es­pe­cial­ly prob­lem­at­ic in the trop­ics as this re­gion is fre­quent­ly con­cealed by dense cloud lay­ers. Un­der these cir­cum­stances, the radar in­stru­ment on board Ter­raSAR-X can make the most of its abil­i­ty to gen­er­ate de­tailed im­ages. The val­leys of the rivers that run through the area show up on the radar im­age even un­der their cov­er of veg­e­ta­tion.


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Image 19/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 8, 2007, 21:53 UTC; original resolution: 16 metres (reduced image); mode: ScanSAR mode; polarisation: HH .
A multi-temporal image of the surroundings of the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen facility

A mul­ti-tem­po­ral im­age of the sur­round­ings of the DLR Oberp­faf­fen­hofen fa­cil­i­ty

February 22, 2011  This is a com­bi­na­tion of two Ter­raSAR-X StripMap im­ages of an area to the north­west of Mu­nich mea­sur­ing 30 by 20 kilo­me­tres, tak­en on 26 June and 7 Ju­ly 2007.You can see Fürsten­feld­bruck air­port at the top cen­tre and the Am­per­moos north of Lake Am­mersee in the low­er left-hand cor­ner.Tak­en at an in­ter­val of 11 days, the radar im­ages show the area in ex­act­ly the same ge­om­e­try - from the same an­gle of view. The colours in­di­cate the in­ten­si­ty of radar backscat­ter at the time the two pho­tographs were tak­en (red: first im­age, green: sec­ond im­age, blue: sum of both im­ages). In­ten­si­ty main­ly de­pends on the rough­ness and hu­mid­i­ty of the re­flect­ing sur­faces. A typ­i­cal ex­am­ple is the very dark ap­pear­ance of the rel­a­tive­ly smooth run­ways at the air­port. Such im­ages are high­ly ef­fec­tive in track­ing land sur­face changes caused, for in­stance, by har­vest­ing grain fields.


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Image 20/32, Credit: DLR; date: June 26 and July 7, 2007, at 5:26 UTC each time; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: VV and HH
A copper mine in Chuquicamata, Atacama Desert, Chile

A cop­per mine in Chuquica­ma­ta, At­a­ca­ma Desert, Chile

February 22, 2011  In the cen­tre of the At­a­ca­ma desert near South Amer­i­ca's west coast lies the world's largest open-cast cop­per mine. The mine was found­ed by the Guggen­heim Broth­ers at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry; it was na­tion­alised in the ear­ly sev­en­ties. The dom­i­nant fea­ture of the im­age is an oval struc­ture- the largest-ev­er de­pres­sion in the Earth’s sur­face ev­er pro­duced by hu­man ef­fort. On the bot­tom left mar­gin of the pit lies the city of Chuquica­ma­ta, which is al­most com­plete­ly de­sert­ed be­cause of the ev­er-ex­pand­ing min­ing op­er­a­tions. Huge piles of min­ing de­bris ap­pear as a mon­strous fan shape (on the right). Depths vary be­tween 600 and 1,000 me­tres. A high-res­o­lu­tion dig­i­tal el­e­va­tion mod­el from new Ter­raSAR-X da­ta will pro­vide very ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ments of the ex­act depths.


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Image 21/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 1, 2007, 23:00 UTC; original resolution: 1 metre (reduced image); mode: High Resolution Spotlight Mode, polarisation: HH
Mount Merapi, Indonesia

Mount Mer­api, In­done­sia

February 22, 2011  Mount Mer­api on the is­land of Ja­va (In­done­sia) is known as one of the world's most dan­ger­ous vol­ca­noes. The ac­tive vol­cano is sit­u­at­ed north of the large conur­ba­tion of Yo­gyakar­ta, in the mid­dle of a dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed area.On the left of the im­age is Mount Mer­api which is about 2900 me­tres high, next to Mount Merbabu on the right, which is as­sumed to be a dor­mant vol­cano.Ter­raSAR-X will, in the fu­ture, be able to de­tect even small move­ments of Earth's sur­face, thus as­sist­ing vol­cano anal­y­sis us­ing in­ter­fer­om­e­try mea­sure­ments.


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Image 22/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 8, 2007, 10:51 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: HH
Sydney, Australia

Syd­ney, Aus­tralia

February 22, 2011  The up­per part of this Ter­raSAR-X im­age of Syd­ney shows Botany Bay, lo­cat­ed south of the air­port. In the low­er right sec­tion is Bate Bay. The rough sea rolling to­wards the coast­line from the Tas­man Sea is clear­ly vis­i­ble. In the open wa­ter the waves have a length of about 150 me­tres. They be­come short­er as they en­ter shal­low­er wa­ters, and fi­nal­ly break as they hit the coast­line. The im­age al­so shows so-called diffrac­tion ef­fects, which in­di­cate a change in wave pitch (seen at the low­er cen­tre of the im­age). This ef­fect is al­so re­lat­ed to the change in wa­ter depth. Two-di­men­sion­al im­ages of wave fields in such a high res­o­lu­tion are of great in­ter­est for a va­ri­ety of coast­line man­age­ment and ship­ping ap­pli­ca­tions.


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Image 23/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 9, 2007, 19:27 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: VV
The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyra­mids of Giza, Egypt

February 22, 2011  The pyra­mids of Giza are the on­ly mem­bers of the Sev­en Won­ders of the World that are still in­tact, while at the same time be­ing the largest mon­u­ment ev­er cre­at­ed. They are over 4500 years old, which makes them the best known and old­est man-made struc­tures.The area shown is on the west bank of the Nile on the fringe of the Egyp­tian desert, about 20 kilo­me­tres from Cairo city cen­tre. The metropo­lis has been sprawl­ing out far in­to the desert, so that the pyra­mids are grad­u­al­ly be­com­ing en­cir­cled by new res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments. In the pic­ture the three large pyra­mids can clear­ly be seen on the out­skirts of the small town of Giza, with the Great Pyra­mid stand­ing out as the most promi­nent one. The small­er pyra­mids come out equal­ly well in the radar im­age. Struc­tures in the desert sand can be seen to the south of the pyra­mids.The radar beam makes it pos­si­ble to recog­nise struc­tures be­low ground lev­el un­der cer­tain con­di­tions, es­pe­cial­ly in arid ar­eas with a loose type of soil. This opens up new ar­chae­o­log­i­cal op­tions and con­sti­tutes yet an­oth­er ap­pli­ca­tion of Ter­raSAR-X da­ta.


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Image 24/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 2, 2007, 03:47 UTC; original resolution: 1 metre (reduced image); mode: High Resolution Spotlight Mode; polarisation: HH
Spain - Strait of Gibraltar

Spain - Strait of Gibral­tar

February 22, 2011  The Strait of Gibral­tar, the gate­way be­tween the At­lantic Ocean and the Mediter­ranean Sea, can be seen in the cen­tre of the im­age. Nu­mer­ous bright spots rep­re­sent ships, doc­u­ment­ing busy traf­fic in the Strait. Gibral­tar is lo­cat­ed in the north, Mo­roc­co on the op­po­site side in the south. Al­so on the Span­ish side a penin­su­la ex­tends in­to the At­lantic, a piece of main­land near the city of Tar­i­fa, which rep­re­sents the south­ern­most point of main­land Eu­rope.Ter­raSAR-X da­ta will be avail­able in the near fu­ture for mon­i­tor­ing ma­rine traf­fic as well as for spot­ting oil spills in the oceans. Ter­raSAR-X will al­so be able to de­ter­mine the speed of ocean cur­rents, thus as­sist­ing oceano­graph­ic re­search.


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Image 25/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 9, 2007, 06:29 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: HH
Italy – Automatic speed control of moving objects using the Doppler effect

Italy – Au­to­mat­ic speed con­trol of mov­ing ob­jects us­ing the Doppler ef­fect

February 22, 2011  Ter­raSAR-X can op­er­ate in a new map­ping mode that en­ables it to de­tect mov­ing ob­jects and mea­sure their speed. This ca­pa­bil­i­ty is used to de­ter­mine the speed of ocean cur­rents but al­so to record the speed of ships or mo­tor ve­hi­cles.This im­age shows the A1 high­way (Au­tostra­da del Sole). The sec­tion is lo­cat­ed about 100 kilo­me­tres south­east of Rome. This radar imag­ing tech­nique is based on the Doppler ef­fect, so the ve­hi­cles ap­pear 'off­set' from the high­way. The ex­tent of the lat­er­al de­vi­a­tion is a mea­sure for a ve­hi­cle’s speed. Us­ing this new mode, Ter­raSAR-X will de­tect ve­hi­cles off the road, and de­ter­mine their dis­tance from the road. The red squares mark the ve­hi­cles, the coloured tri­an­gles in­di­cate their cur­rent po­si­tion, with the colour in­di­cat­ing their speed.These da­ta will, in fu­ture, be used by trans­porta­tion re­search teams who will in­te­grate these ex­ten­sive pic­tures of mov­ing traf­fic in­to their traf­fic mod­els along with lo­cal­ly ob­tained sen­sor da­ta, to im­prove their ca­pa­bil­i­ty to pre­dict con­ges­tions and to man­age the flow of traf­fic. This will be par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful in dis­as­ter man­age­ment and mass events, in which cur­rent traf­fic mod­els may fail. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of in­di­vid­u­al ve­hi­cles is not pos­si­ble with this tech­nol­o­gy, but al­so un­nec­es­sary for traf­fic re­search.


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Image 26/32, Credit: @DLR
Las Vegas, USA – First TerraSAR-X Digital Elevation Model

Las Ve­gas, USA – First Ter­raSAR-X Dig­i­tal El­e­va­tion Mod­el

February 22, 2011  The im­age shows a sec­tion of Las Ve­gas close to Boul­der City. On the right is the high-res­o­lu­tion Ter­raSAR-X el­e­va­tion mod­el; for com­par­i­son, the el­e­va­tion mod­el on the left is based on da­ta cur­rent­ly avail­able world­wide, from the Shut­tle Radar To­pog­ra­phy Mis­sion (SRTM), to which DLR con­tribut­ed. It dates back to the year 2000. With its radar tech­nol­o­gy, Ter­raSAR-X can mea­sure the sur­face of Earth with ex­treme ac­cu­ra­cy and pro­vide da­ta for ul­tra high res­o­lu­tion dig­i­tal ter­rain mod­els. How­ev­er, this re­quires at least two satel­lite over­flights to en­sure that the satel­lite can im­age the ter­rain from two dif­fer­ent an­gles. If ei­ther rain or wind al­ter the sur­face re­flectance be­tween two suc­ces­sive pass­es of the satel­lite, the qual­i­ty of the re­sult­ing ter­rain mod­el will be af­fect­ed.

Hence, for the time be­ing, dry ar­eas are the pre­ferred ar­eas for test­ing the imag­ing func­tion and el­e­va­tion deriva­tion, giv­en their low rate of sur­face change. This lim­i­ta­tion will dis­ap­pear in the fu­ture once the pro­ject­ed Tan­dem-X Mis­sion is op­er­a­tional. This mis­sion will in­volve an al­most iden­ti­cal satel­lite that will be shot in­to a quasi-par­al­lel or­bit. The two satel­lites to­geth­er will work as a tan­dem, both imag­ing the same area for an im­me­di­ate deriva­tion of dig­i­tal el­e­va­tion mod­els with a very high spa­tial res­o­lu­tion.


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Image 27/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 7, 2007; original resolution: 1 metre (reduced image); mode: Spotlight Mode; polarisation: VV
Guelb er Richat, Mauritania – shallow ring structures on the surface

Guelb er Richat, Mau­ri­ta­nia – shal­low ring struc­tures on the sur­face

February 22, 2011  The ring struc­ture shown in this im­age is lo­cat­ed in Ouadane in Mau­ri­ta­nia. It has a di­am­e­ter of about 45 kilo­me­tres.As­tro­nauts have been drawn to this struc­ture ev­er since the be­gin­ning of space­flight. Since it is eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied from space it has served as­tro­nauts and cos­mo­nauts on their or­bital mis­sions as an un­mis­tak­able land­mark. The ring con­sists of lime­stones, dolomites and brec­chias from the late Pro­tero­zoic to Or­dovi­cian eras (aged about 0.6 to 0.5 bil­lion years) that were cen­tral­ly up­lift­ed and sub­se­quent­ly erod­ed. The ques­tion as to the struc­ture’s ori­gin, which is wide­ly thought to have been orig­i­nal­ly a me­te­orite crater, has yet to be an­swered.Anal­y­sis of the mag­natites which pre­vail in the cen­tre of the for­ma­tion sug­gest that the struc­ture is the ex­pres­sion of a cre­ta­ceous al­ka­line com­plex. Al­though the ex­posed lay­ers have formed a shal­low ridge which, in many parts, is no more than a few me­tres high, the struc­ture can be ex­cel­lent­ly iden­ti­fied and mapped in a radar im­age thanks to its sur­face prop­er­ties.


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Image 28/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 8, 2007, 18:53 UTC; original resolution: 16 metres (reduced image); mode: ScanSAR Mode; polarisation: VV
Mount Egmont (Taranaki), New Zealand

Mount Egmont (Tarana­ki), New Zealand

February 22, 2011  The near-cir­cu­lar, con­i­cal peak of Mount Egmont on New Zealand’s North Is­land presents it­self in full glo­ry. It is as­sumed that the vol­cano has had this shape on­ly for the last 10,000 years, and the same goes for its 2518 me­tre height. La­va flows from ear­li­er out­breaks have cov­ered a ma­jor part of the sur­round­ings, stretch­ing across 25 kilo­me­tres to­wards the ocean, form­ing a ring-shaped plain.The Maori peo­ple call this moun­tain 'Tarana­ki', which means 'with­out veg­e­ta­tion'. On­ly a few thou­sand years ago, the low­er plains were com­plete­ly cov­ered by dense rain forests.To­day, the on­ly forests left are those on the slopes of Tarana­ki in the Egmont Na­tion­al Park, which stands out from the sur­round­ing in­ten­sive­ly used farm­ing and pas­ture land as if drawn with a com­pass. It has a num­ber of snow fields but no glaciers on its peak. Of­ten in the sum­mer sea­son, the peak is com­plete­ly ice free, while in the win­ter, ski­ing is pos­si­ble on Man­ganui’s own ski-field.


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Image 29/32, Credit: DLR; date: July 15, 2007, 07:07 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: VV.
Moving bodies of water around the island of Sylt, Germany

Mov­ing bod­ies of wa­ter around the is­land of Sylt, Ger­many

February 22, 2011  To pre­pare this pho­to­graph, three im­ages of Ter­raSAR-X were su­per­im­posed. The in­di­vid­u­al im­gaes were ob­tained on 22, 24 and 27 Oc­to­ber 2007. The ar­eas pho­tographed with time in­ter­vals ap­pear in blue and green - in par­tic­u­lar the ar­eas af­fect­ed by the tides of the Wad­den Sea.


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Image 30/32, Credit: @DLR
The Upsala Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina

The Up­sala Glacier in Patag­o­nia, Ar­genti­na

February 22, 2011  Ter­raSAR-x StripMap prod­uct, 30 x 55 kilo­me­tres, as an ex­am­ple of EEC pro­jec­tion. It shows the Up­sala Glacier in Patag­o­nia, Ar­genti­na.


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Image 31/32, Credit: @DLR
Lava eruption in the Holuhraun lava field

La­va erup­tion in the Holuhraun la­va field, 40 kilo­me­tres north of the cen­tral vol­cano Bar­dar­bun­ga

September 9, 2014  Holuhraun is a la­va field in Ice­land’s high­lands, north of Vat­na­jökull glacier; it is part of the Bar­dar­bun­ga vol­canic sys­tem. In this im­age, ac­quired by the Ger­man radar satel­lite Ter­raSAR-X, the fresh­ly ex­posed la­va can eas­i­ly be seen in the right-hand part of the pic­ture. The lighter ar­eas in the im­age, which have been coloured red to en­hance their vis­i­bil­i­ty, show a vari­a­tion in am­pli­tude – the in­ten­si­ty of the radar sig­nal that comes back to the satel­lite. The rough sur­face of the fresh­ly cooled la­va re­flects the radar sig­nals very strong­ly, and thus ap­pears bright. Smooth sur­faces such as wa­ter re­flect the in­ci­dent radar beam away from the satel­lite and there­fore ap­pear dark in the im­age, like the crater of the Ask­ja vol­cano in the low­er cen­tre of the im­age.


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Image 32/32, Credit: DLR.

With the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, the land masses of the Earth are particularly closely inspected. This includes the mapping of our forests, the generation and current updating of land utilization maps, the recording of derelict land areas and the estimation of the maturitylevel of areas in agricultural use, as well as the study and monitoring of geologically active areas such as volcanic and earthquake regions.

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