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Australia from Space: Part 5

IT’S DIFFICULT TO GET A TRUE PICTURE of the scale of Australia’s Red Centre from the ground, but satellite images help us to comprehend the breadth and beauty of the region. These remarkable images were taken by the Proba, Envisat and Landsat satellites, and show two of Australia’s most famous landmarks—Uluru and Lake Eyre.

Uluru

The rock formation Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, as seen by the European Proba satellite. Uluru is the world's largest monolith, and a sacred site to Australia's indigenous peoples. It is 3.6 km long and two km wide. The walk around it covers 9.4 km.

Uluru 2

This black and white Proba image gives us a closer view of Uluru, and shows the layers of rock titled towards the vertical.

Lake Eyre Basin

This Envisat image highlights the Lake Eyre Basin, one of the world’s largest internally draining systems, in the heart of Australia. White cloud streaks stand in contrast to the Red Centre’s vast amounts of crimson soil and sparse greenery. The basin covers about 1.2 million sq km (about the size of France, Germany and Italy combined), including large portions of South Australia (bottom), the Northern Territory (upper left) and Queensland (upper right) and a part of western New South Wales (bottom right). This image was acquired by the European Envisat satellite’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on 3 July 2010 at a resolution of 300 metre.

Lake Eyre

This Landsat satellite image shows a portion of Lake Eyre (lower-left corner) and the north-south sand dunes of the Simpson and Tirari deserts in the remote outback of South Australia. The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 acquired this image on 31 May 2011.

Earlier Australia from Space pictorials:

Australia from Space: Part 1

Australia from Space: Part 2

Australia from Space: Part 3

Australia from Space: Part 4

Adapted from information issued by ESA.

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Boost for Aussie space research

Australia from space

Observations from space are the single most important and richest source of environmental information for Australia.

DEVELOPING WORLD-LEADING environmental monitoring technology and sparking student interest in space science are two priorities the Federal Government is funding under its Australian Space Research Programme.

Announcing $9 million for two space research projects and an innovative space education programme, Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr said Australia’s space activities contribute to our productivity and prosperity—satellites help us communicate and navigate across our rugged terrain, and help us observe environmental change.

“Earth observations from space are the single most important and richest source of environmental information for Australia. They support weather and climate prediction, and help us to manage our forests and marine eco-systems,” Senator Carr said.

“Under the programme, the University of South Australia is being awarded over $4.9 million to transmit data from field instruments to researchers live via satellite.

“This will help improve the ability to track animals and wildlife, manage ecosystems and monitor water, climate and marine environments. It will also have widespread applications in mining, agriculture and other industries.

“Improving satellite earth observation systems allow us to more accurately conduct activities like sowing seeds, applying fertilizers and ploughing fields, increasing our farmers’ productivity.

“Lockheed Martin Australia is being awarded over $3.4 million to develop international standard infrastructure, which will receive and analyse Landsat Earth observation data.

“This project will advance Australia’s unique satellite data processing capability for better global climate change research. It will have benefits for the agriculture, geology, forestry, surveillance and education sectors.

“The space education programme being funded will be led by Flinders University. The university is receiving over $950,000 to train 40 teachers about earth observation sciences. Also under this project, up to 400 secondary students will undertake research projects in space-related fields.”

Adapted from information issued by the Australian Government.

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