Iran’s Salt Desert, Dasht-e Kavir, As Seen From Space

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 12, 2023
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Iran’s Salt Desert, Dasht-e Kavir, As Seen From Space
Iran’s Salt Desert, Dasht-e Kavir

The curving sands in central northern Iran’s salt desert, Dasht-e Kavir, can be seen in this image from the Ikonos-2 satellite. Here, clays and sand soils have a high surface salt content owing to the concentration of minerals from high summer evaporation.

Iran is one of the world’s most important mineral producers. Earth-observing satellites – and in particular, high-resolution multispectral imagery – are useful for finding and monitoring natural resources like minerals.

Satellites can directly identify different minerals and recognise large-scale geological structures related to mineral deposits that ground-based surveys may have difficulty detecting.

Near the area pictured are biosphere reserves, national parks and wildlife refuges. When dealing with large, uninhabited areas like this, remote sensing can provide a simple solution to managing protected land.

This image was acquired on 13 November 2008 by Ikonos-2, a commercial satellite that provides panchromatic and multispectral imagery at an extremely high resolution of up to 1 m per pixel.

ESA supports Ikonos-2 as a Third Party Mission, which means that the Agency uses its multi-mission European ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite to its wide scientific user community.

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.