Germany's EnMap satellite beams new images of Turkey's Bosporus in 250 colors

Tracking the perils of climate change in high fidelity.
Chris Young
EnMap's first images.DLR

A press statement reveals that the German Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMap) satellite has delivered its first high-resolution, multicolor images of the Earth.

The satellite, which is managed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on April 1, 2022.

EnMap has now spent almost a month in space and it has imaged a roughly 30-km wide and 180-km long strip over Istanbul, Turkey showing the Bosporus strait, which marks the continental boundary between the European and Asian sides of the country.

The EnMap satellite uses a highly complex hyperspectral instrument, which DLR is in the process of calibrating with these first images. Once the calibration process is complete, the satellite will become fully operational, allowing it to collect data highlighting the effects of climate change from space.  

Germany's EnMap satellite beams new images of Turkey's Bosporus in 250 colors
An artist's impression of EnMap. Source: OHB System AG, GFZ

The EnMap satellite reached its target destination in Earth's orbit on April 9, eight days after its launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

EnMap can make "a major contribution" to highlighting climate change

EnMap is a state-of-the-art tool for collecting data that will help the world's scientists document the effects of climate change. "The first data from EnMAP have demonstrated what the German environmental satellite is capable of," said Sebastian Fischer, EnMAP Project Manager at the German Space Agency at DLR. "But these first images already give us a very good idea of what researchers around the world can expect. They show that EnMAP can make a major contribution to highlighting the consequences of climate change and counteracting the ongoing destruction of the environment."

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The EnMap satellite team's motto is "Our Earth in more than just color" because the image data is collected in various small wavelength ranges invisible to the naked eye. It can use more than 250 colors to produce exact data on water, vegetation, and soil over large areas from space. In a recent interview with CNNthe state of Brandenburg's Minister of Research, Manja Schüle, said EnMap will provide "reliable information about man-made changes and damage to our ecosystems in the future," and that "these are the best prerequisites for developing innovative measures to adapt to climate change."

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