28 Years of Vegas Growth as Seen by Landsat 5

In honor of Landsat 5’s 28th birthday today (March 1st) here’s how the desert city of Las Vegas has gone through a massive growth spurt. The outward expansion of the city is shown in a false-color time lapse of data from all the Landsat satellites.

The large red areas are actually green space, mostly golf courses and city parks. You’ll notice the images become a lot sharper around 1984, that’s when new instrument designs greatly increased their sensitivity.

These Las Vegas images were created using reflected light from the near-infrared, red and green portions of the electromagnetic spectrum (Landsat 5 TM bands 4,3,2 and Landsat 1-3 MSS bands 4,2,1).


  1. It’s interesting that they got 40 years’ worth of images (1972-2012) from a 28-year-long project. Very clever people, those NASA engineers.

    1. You might want to read the caption a bit more closely. It’s the 28th anniversary of the 5th satellite.

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