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NASA uses satellite data to provide amazing insights into Beirut explosion damage



On August 4, the city of Beirut experienced a huge, incredibly tragic explosion that claimed countless lives and caused widespread destruction. Many videos of the incident show the explosion and the resulting impact from different angles, but it may be difficult to understand the scope of the damage. NASA provided help in this regard. The agency released a map using satellite data to show the extent of damage caused by the Beirut explosion.

The Beirut explosion was relatively small. A fire broke out in the hangar, which contained fireworks, which can be seen in the video of the initial incident. However, a second explosion occurred shortly after, which was a considerable explosion, causing mushroom clouds and shock waves to spread out rapidly, claiming lives, causing damage and destroying buildings.

Various surveillance systems recorded the explosion as equivalent to an earthquake of magnitude 3.3 to 4.5. According to experts, this is one of the largest explosions caused by non-nuclear sources. In order to assess the extent of the loss, NASA’s Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team worked hand in hand with the Singapore Earth Observatory to draw a loss map.

The renderings are created using data from satellites, which are designed to observe changes in the ground that occur before and after some major event (usually an earthquake, but in this case an explosion). As you may have guessed, the deeper the red in the map above, the more severe the damage to these areas.

NASA says that each color pixel on the map has a resolution of 33 yards. NASA explained that the yellow outer circle on the map shows areas with “much less loss.”

Generating such a map has an obvious benefit-in addition to helping to visualize the extent of damage, the map also allows government agencies and support organizations to make zero investment in areas that need the most help, ultimately helping them prioritize resources to achieve the most effective results .


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