In this UAVSAR Pauli decomposition, the Holitna River runs through the center of the image. The river is located in southwest Alaska and is the largest river system in the Kuskokwim River basin. The Hoholitna River, seen at the top of the image, is a major tributary and joins the Holitna 20 miles (32 km) from the Kuskokwim River. Both rivers flow through a vast wilderness area and the flat landscape accounts for the extreme serpentine nature of the rivers and the formation of oxbow lakes – U-shaped lakes that form when a meander of a river is cut-off. Many of these lakes are visible is this image. Credit: NASA/JPL 2018
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This multi-temporal RGB composite uses three images of the Mekong Delta acquired at different times during the last year to create a wonderful array of colors. Colorful pixels represent temporal variation while white to black pixels have not experienced any significant change. The diversity of color highlights the region's mix of crop types and the diversity of rice cultivation methods. Because of the ability of SAR to image during the rainy season, this technique is a useful tool for mapping and classifying crop type and rice production methods year round. Credit: Copernicus Sentinel data 2019, processed by ESA; courtesy Rowan Biessel, ASF
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Visible in this false color ALOS PALSAR mosaic image, the Tanezrouft Basin in the Sahara Desert is one of the most desolate locations on Earth, and is known as the “land of terror” from its lack of water and vegetation. Salt flats and sandstone outcroppings create various patterns only visible from high above the landscape. The data were acquired in ‘dual polarization’, from which the artificial color composite was generated. © JAXA/METI 2007; Credit: Jeff Hickey, ASF
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This 1978 Seasat image of Central Pennsylvania's Susquehanna Lowlands was taken by the first civilian SAR mission. Different signal returns from the ridges and valleys reveal their formation through ancient tectonic compression. Pressure from the southeast buckled the rocks into long ridges. Erosion of softer rocks formed valleys, while harder rocks remained in the ridges. Bright spots along the river represent buildings in towns.
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In this ALOS AVNIR-2 image, the interaction of wind and local topography are seen to produce a scouring of rocky hills in southwestern Namibia. This sand-free region, with its own local albedo, stands as a beautiful anomaly in the 1,000-mile-long Namib Desert.
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SAR Scientist Highlight

Joughin drilling a hole for installing a seismometer near a supra glacial lake in Greenland. 
Credit; Chris Linder

OCT 2021 -- Rod Boyce

Ian Joughin, PhD

Ian Joughin is quite familiar with the Alaska Satellite Facility. That familiarity began during his time in graduate school and continued at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, where he began work in 1995.

It’s present in his current work as a glaciologist at the University of Washington Polar Science Center and in preparations for launch of the NISAR Earth-observing satellite in 2023.

And it will certainly be there in the future as he continues to use data coming through the Alaska Satellite Facility for his work monitoring the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

“It’s essential,” he said of the Alaska Satellite Facility. “Even though a lot of the data I’m using comes from European satellites, ASF has a much quicker way for me to access the data while I’m at the University of Washington.”

The Alaska Satellite Facility was key to his early work researching the Antarctic Ice Sheet using data from the European Space Agency’s two ERS satellites, launched in 1991 and 1995.

“There’s a lot of data from Antarctica from ERS that we got in the early days through ASF that wouldn’t have been acquired if ASF didn’t have a ground facility at McMurdo Station for a while,” he said.

For Ian, the Alaska Satellite Facility continues to be a vital component of his research with differential SAR interferometry to determine surface motion and topography of ice sheets, especially with his long-running Greenland Ice Mapping Project, which is part of NASA’s Making Earth Science Data Records for Use in Research Environments program.

“I get about a terabyte or two every month from ASF,” he said.