Yes they can. But better still are satellite images as utilized through a technology science called Remote Sensing. Theoretically, any earth feature that is “remotely sensed” will qualify, so aerial photography is used too, but there are very high resolution satellites that can detect many different wavelengths of light that can sense many different environmental phenomena better than aerial photography. Remote sensing is useful for detecting: forest heath (i.e. clear cuts or disease), pollution regions, and disasters (i.e. oil spills).
This is so cool, is NASA in charge of this?
NASA utilizes this technology, but so do a lot of other environmental organizations. Since satellites are becoming more common, many images are free now to schools and some of them to the general public. LandSat (the name of the satellite) images in particular.
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