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Website of the Week — Antarctica Mosaic


Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

This time we actually feature two websites, two different portals that work together to offer scientists and the rest of us unprecedented access to the most detailed satellite images of Antarctica ever put online.

The project is called LIMA , for Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, and NASA official Robert Bindschadler says both the space agency and the U.S. Geological Survey have complementary websites to help you access the data.

BINDSCHADLER: "You'll find at lima.usgs.gov, that's were the data are. It has a good viewer, and it has the ability to download the data. The lima.nasa.gov website is focused on education and outreach, using LIMA as a platform. So there's really no excuse for people not learning more about Antarctica now with these incredible tools to use. And we think that's very important for the public today."

Most users will want to start with the site at lima.nasa.gov, where there is introductory material to help orient you to the frozen continent with background information and other tools.

BINDSCHADLER: "We have educational classroom activities written by educators for teachers. We have scientific documents you can read, and other links to other datasets out there. And actually you can track the motion of crevasses with a little applet."

The other site, lima.usgs.gov, has the actual Antarctica viewer, including different ways to examine the images. For example, one problem in these pictures is that all the white snow sometimes makes it difficult to see details. Digital technology comes to the rescue with contrast-stretched images.

BINDSCHADLER: "This is, I call the sunglasses stretch because it takes those areas that were too bright with reflected snow and darkens the rest of the mosaic and allows you to see detail in what was previously saturated bright snow."

BINDSCHADLER: NASA's Robert Bindschadler says you can also download the data, but be warned: the files are really big to give you the kind of detail being offered here — and for free — for the first time.

The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, LIMA, is online at lima.nasa.gov and at lima.usgs.gov, or get the links from our site, voanews.com.

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