Go read these stories about the use of spy satellite images in environmental studies


A black and white satellite photo of an area in Russia, with text that says “18 August 1960 Imagery.” There are arrows pointing to areas that say “Parking Apron” and “Runway.”
A photo from the CIA’s Corona spy satellite program. | National Reconnaissance Office

US spy satellites inadvertently collected vital environmental data at the height of the Cold War. This trove of photos and data from the Central Intelligence Agency has become crucial to the study of Earth’s environmental changes, as detailed in two fascinating stories in The New York Times this week. One story details the life of a scientist who analyzed them for years, another follows the history of the spy satellites that provided them.

Linda Zall, an environmental engineer, worked at the CIA for decades, leading a team that analyzed images from spy satellites to gather data for environmental studies. She wrote classified reports about how reconnaissance imagery could be used for earth and environmental science, running a research…

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