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NASA, USGS release first Landsat 8 images

This image captured Monday by the Landsat 8 shows what Colorado's Front Range would look like to the human eye from space. (NASA image)

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey have released the first images from a new land imaging satellite launched last month after completing system tests.

The natural-color images were processed by the EROS Data Center north of Sioux Falls. They show green coniferous forests in the mountains stretching down to the brown plains at the intersection of the United States Great Plains and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado.

Landsat 8 acquired the images of Colorado's Front Range on Monday using its operational land imager and thermal infrared sensor instruments.

Project scientist Jim Irons at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., says the team is excited about this first collection of simultaneous imagery. They confirm healthy, functioning sensors that survived the rigors of launch.