The Main Stream

Jul 26, 2012 6:48 PM

NASA images capture Tucson - then and now

TUCSON - NASA's Earth Observatory has released two satellite photos of two very different-looking cities: Tucson in 2011, and Tucson in 1965.

During a week-long flight in August 1965, Gemini V astronauts snapped photos of Earth form orbit, including a shot showing Tucson, Arizona, the nearby Santa Cruz River, and acres of cultivated fields along the riverbanks.

A lot changes in 46 years.

The second image, taken in 2011 by the Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5, shows the expansion of urbanized areas in the easily-identifiable grid pattern of city streets.

The lack of green in the picture has several possible explanations - vegetation may have faded with the advance of autumn, NASA sources state. Also, Tucson experienced drought conditions in 2011, which may have reduced the vegetation around the city.

To see the original, high-resolution photos, head to:

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