This Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) image, cropped from a full scene, covers an area of 14 x 18 km. ASTER, an instrument aboard NASAs Terra satellite, acquired the image on December 22, 2000. Visible and infrared spectral bands were combined to create a simulated true-color image.
The Nasca Lines are located in the Pampa region of Peru, the desolate plain of the Peruvian coast 400 km south of Lima. The Lines were first spotted when commercial airlines began flying across the Peruvian desert in the 1920s. Passengers reported seeing primitive landing strips on the ground below. The Lines were made by removing the iron-oxide coated pebbles which cover the surface of the desert. When the gravel is removed, they contrast with the light color underneath. In this way the lines were drawn as furrows of a lighter color. On the Pampa, south of the Nasca Lines, archaeologists have now uncovered the lost city of the line-builders, Cahuachi. It was built nearly 2,000 years ago and mysteriously abandoned 500 years later.
Image courtesy NASA/GSFC/MITI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team