Down to earth

May 12, 1995

(Photograph) - Down to earth: The first pictures beamed to earth from the European environmental satellite, ERS-2, include this one of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, taken by a British-made instrument, the ATSR-2. Unlike its predecessor, the ATSR-2 is taking pictures using visible light as well as infra-red. This will enable scientists at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford to study the vegetation surrounding the dramatically shrinking sea and assess whether canals being built to try to halt the shrinkage are having any effect.

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