ESA’s Proba-V minisatellite images the verdant Yucatán peninsula, once home to the Maya civilization and the site of the impact believed to have doomed the dinosaurs.
As part of the Atlantic Hurricane Belt – placed between the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east – the largely flat peninsula is vulnerable to storms from the east. Yet, its easternmost side is the site of popular beach resorts and tourist hotspots such as the city of Cancún. Moving further south towards Belize, the state of Quintana Roo is home to the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka'an, home to jaguars and archaeological sites of the Maya.
On the western side, the large orange-brown spot is the city of Mérida, near the centre of the buried Chicxulub crater. This was formed by the impact of a 10- to 15- km large asteroid or comet, triggering a major climate disruption and extinction event, just under 66 million years ago.
Launched on 7 May 2013, Proba-V is a miniaturised ESA satellite tasked with a full-scale mission: to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days.
Its main camera’s continent-spanning 2250 km swath width collects light in the blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared wavebands at 300 m resolution and down to 100 m resolution in its central field of view.
VITO Remote Sensing in Belgium processes and then distributes Proba-V data to users worldwide. An online image gallery highlights some of the mission’s most striking images so far, including views of storms, fires and deforestation.
This 100 m resolution image was acquired on 23 July 2018.
Proba-V is currently the subject of ESA’s latest ‘citizen science’ competition, requesting teams to produce ‘super-resolution’ images equivalent to its 100 m mode from sets of 300 m imagery.