Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
4928 x 3280 pixels 640 x 426 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 8.5° S, 45.6° W

Photo center point: 8.5° S, 46.1° W

Photo center point by machine learning:

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 221 nautical miles (409km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
4928 pixels 3280 pixels No No Download Image
640 pixels 426 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Download a GeoTIFF for this photo
Image Caption: Image Caption: Agricultural Fields and Flat Lands, Brazil

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station focused a camera on the geometric patterns of farms on some plateaus in northeast Brazil. Here the fields, mainly soybeans and maize, have been planted right up to the edges of the small plateaus. The edges are ragged lines marked by cliffs.

The many flat plateau surfaces of southern Maranhão State are ideal for the wheeled machinery of mechanized agriculture. In fact, the capital city of the region, Balsas, is known as the “capital of mechanized agriculture.”

The steep-sided river valleys—such as that of the Balsas River—lie fully 200 meters (600 feet) below the plateaus. Numerous finger-like tributaries are eroding and creating smaller valleys, which are poor landscapes for mechanized farming. One result is that the forests around the valleys remain in their pristine form, even though southern Maranhão is part of Brazil’s long “arc of deforestation” on the southern margin of a dense forest zone.