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Multispectral Scanner Sensor

The Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) Sensor were line scanning devices observing the Earth perpendicular to the orbital track. The cross-track scanning was accomplished by an oscillating mirror; six lines were scanned simultaneously in each of the four spectral bands for each mirror sweep. The forward motion of the satellite provided the along-track scan line progression.

Multispectral Scanner from Landsats 4 and 5 had a swath width of approximately 185×170 km from a height of approximately 900 km for Landsat 1, 2, and 3, and 705 km for Landsat 4 and 5. MSS data are widely used for general geologic studies as well as vegetation inventories.

Spatial Resolution of MSS data is 56 × 79 m, with a 79 × 79 m IFOV. A typical scene contains approximately 2340 rows and 3240 columns. Radiometric Resolution is 6-bit, but it is stored as 8-bit.

MSS Sensor Specifications

  • Sensor type: opto-mechanical
  • Spatial Resolution: 68 m X 83 m (commonly resampled to 57 m, or 60 m)
  • Spectral Range: 0.5–1.1 µm
  • Number of Bands: 4, 5 (Landsat 3 only)
  • Temporal Resolution: 18 days (L1-L3), 16 days (L4 & L5)
  • Image Size: 185 km X 185 km
  • Swath: 185 km
  • Programmable: No

Multispectral Scanner Bands

Detectors record EMR in 4 bands:

  • Bands 1 and 2 are in the visible portion of the spectrum and can detect cultural features, such as roads. These bands also show detail in water.
  • Bands 3 and 4 are in the near-infrared portion used to identify land, water, and vegetation.

MSS Band Specifications

BandsWavelenth (µm)Resolution (m)Uses
10.5-0.668 m X 83 mScans the region between blue and red
chlorophy absorption bands.
Green reflectance of healthy vegetation.
Map water bodies.
20.6-0.768 m X 83 mRed chlorophy absorption band of healthy
green vegetation.
Identify vegetation types.
Determine soil boundary and geological
boundary delineations
Cultural features.
30.7-0.868 m X 83 mIdentify crops.
Identify soil and crop boundaries.
Identify land and water boundaries.
40.8-1.168 m X 83 m

Landsat MSS

Multispectral Scanner (MSS) 80-meter, multispectral data from Landsat 1 – 5.

The Landsat Multispectral Scanner (MSS) sensor was carried onboard Landsat 1 through Landsat 5 and acquired images of the Earth nearly continuously from July 1972 to October 1992.

Landsat  Multispectral ((MSS)) Imagery
Landsat Multispectral Imagery

Landsat MSS Band Specifications

Band (L1-L2)Band (L3)Band (L4-L5)µmResolutionL4/L5 TM Band Equivalent
4410.5-0.668 m X 83 m~ 2 (0.52–0.60 µm)
5520.6-0.768 m X 83 m~ 3 (0.63–0.69 µm)
6630.7-0.868 m X 83 m~ 4 (0.76–0.90 µm)
7740.8-1.168 m X 83 m~ 4 (0.76–0.90 µm)
N/A8N/A10.4-12.668 m X 83 m~ 6 (10.41-12.5 µm)

Landsat TM Data Parameters

Product TypeLevel-1 Corrected
Pixel Size60 m Reflective bands 4-7 (Landsat 1-3) and Bands 1-4 (Landsat 4-5)
Output FormatGeoTIFF
Resampling methodcubic convolution (CC)
Map ProjectionUTM – GS 84
Polar Stereographic for the continent of Antarctica.
Image OrientationMap (North Up)

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