09 March 2012

The growth of Las Vegas

NASA's video compilation of satellite images of Las Vegas, Nevada from 1972 - 2012.
In honor of Landsat 5's 28th birthday today (March 1st) here's how the desert city of Las Vegas has gone through a massive growth spurt. The outward expansion of the city is shown in a false-color time lapse of data from all the Landsat satellites.

The large red areas are actually green space, mostly golf courses and city parks. You'll notice the images become a lot sharper around 1984, that's when new instrument designs greatly increased their sensitivity.
I'm still trying to figure out how a project launched 28 years ago captured images from 1972.  NASA engineers continue to amaze me...

Posted for the Carlson branch of my family, who moved from the Midwest to Vegas in the 1950s (!) so my uncle Bill could help establish UNLV (the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, then known as "Nevada Southern").

Via Cynical-C.


  1. The melanoma that is Las Vegas (in particular) and human impact in general.

  2. LANDSAT 1 was launched in 1972. LANDSAT 5 completed it's mission last year, number six failed to reach orbit, and -7 is orbiting now. A new one will go up in a couple of years. http://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/about/timeline.html

    1. Ahhh... a logical explanation. Tx. (although I kind of liked the time-warping possibility better)

  3. Sorry about "it's," in my previous post...

  4. Where the hell are they getting the water to do this?


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