Mammoth Mountain, California

This false-color composite radar image of the Mammoth Mountain area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its 67th orbit on October 3, 1994. The image is centered at 37.6 degrees north latitude and 119.0 degrees west longitude. The area is about 39 kilometers by 51 kilometers (24 miles by 31 miles). North is toward the bottom, about 45 degrees to the right. In this image, red was created using L-band (horizontally transmitted/ vertically received) polarization data; green was created using C-band (horizontally transmitted/vertically received) polarization data; and blue was created using C-band (horizontally transmitted and received) polarization data. Crawley Lake appears dark at the center left of the image, just above or south of Long Valley. The Mammoth Mountain ski area is visible at the top right of the scene. The red areas correspond to forests, the dark blue areas are bare surfaces and the green areas are short vegetation, mainly brush. The purple areas at the higher elevations in the upper part of the scene are discontinuous patches of snow cover from a September 28 storm. New, very thin snow was falling before and during the second space shuttle pass. In parallel with the operational SIR-C data processing, an experimental effort is being conducted to test SAR data processing using the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's massively parallel supercomputing facility, centered around the Cray Research T3D . These experiments will assess the abilities of large supercomputers to produce high throughput Synthetic Aperture Radar processing in preparation for upcoming data- intensive SAR missions. The image released here was produced as part of this experimental effort.

P-44739 October 11 1994

For a full-resolution copy of this image, press here

Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves, allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L- band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi- frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C w as developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.v.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.

This image is a part of the Image Library sponsored by the Texas Space Grant Consortium and the Center for Space Research - University of Texas at Austin. It was taken from


Last Modified: 07/14/00