On July 23rd, 1972, the first Landsat spacecraft launched into orbit. At the time, it was called "Earth Resources Technology Satellite," or ERTS, and was the first satellite to use a scanning spectrophotometer. Previous satellites relied on film cameras (ejecting the exposed film to be caught by planes) or transmitted the signal from television cameras. The scanning sensor and its successor sensors on subsequent Landsat satellites revolutionized how we study our home planet.
Celebrating this anniversary, this video is a "greatest hits" montage of Landsat data.