Acquired 30 July 2003, this Proba shows the China’s Three Rivers dam. The Project for On-Board Autonomy (Proba) is a technology demonstration mission of the European Space Agency.
Proba, Project for On Board Autonomy, demonstrates the potential and feasibility of small satellites for advanced scientific and Earth observation missions.
Water churns through diversion holes in the world’s largest dam - China’s Three Gorges project on the Yangtze River, imaged here by ESA’s Proba satellite this week. Seen to the left, the waters behind the dam have risen to a level of 135 metres since the sluice gates were first closed in early June, and in August Three Gorges is due to generate its first commercial hydroelectricity.
The Three Gorges project is set to create a new 600-km-long body of water on the face of the 21st century Earth: the thick concrete dam walls stand 190 metres tall and already they hold back an estimated 10 billion cubic metres of water. More than 600,000 people have had to abandon their homes to the rising reservoir, and as many again will have to relocate before the waters reach their final planned level of 175 metres.
It can be clearly seen in the image how the river has burst its banks and is inundating the land upriver of the dam. The waters of the world’s third-longest river appear brown in colour because they are heavy with sediment.
Etienne Tilmans | European Space Agency
The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs
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