Satellites eye N.Y.

Satellites eye N.Y.

Shortly after this month's terrorist attacks, NASA's Web site posted images of the smoke plume from the collapsed 110-story World Trade Center towers from hundreds of miles above Earth.

The Earth Observatory Terra satellite, an unmanned spacecraft launched in 1999, captured an image of the New York metropolitan area on Sept. 12 in visible and infrared light.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages Terra. The satellite directly broadcasts raw data to ground stations at Goddard and other sites, Goddard spokesman Mark Hess said.

Terra's orbit is not synchronized with Earth's rotation, so it passes over all parts of the planet surface periodically.

The crew of the International Space Station also saw the aftermath from 250 miles up. Frank Culbertson, commander of the station's current crew, sent video images of the smoke plume back to NASA. The Terra and ISS images are on the Web at www.nasa.gov/newsinfo/WTCplume.html.

The Visible Earth Web site, at visibleearth.nasa.gov, includes an image of lower Manhattan taken by the Geological Survey's Landsat 7 imaging satellite.

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