Gothamist had the great opportunity last week to see the Landsat 7 satellite ground receiving station at the EROS Data Center in Sioux Falls, SD. Get your minds out of the gutter, EROS is an acronym for Earth Resources Observation Systems. We even got to see them twirl the ten-meter, four-ton dish around. The dish is enclosed in a dome because a previous version was destroyed by a hail storm. There are over 13,000 bolts holding the dome together and they are manually inspected once a year.
Landsat 7 is the latest in a series of satellites designed to monitor the earths land surface. The satellite is in orbit about 438 miles above the earth. It can see objects as small as 15 meters (49 feet) on a side. The instruments aboard the satellite can also be used to look at many weather-related phenomena such as tornado paths, wildfires, swirly clouds known as Von Karmen vortices, and the break-up of ice shelves. Why, you can even see little old Gotham itself.