iPod-from-Space Mystery Unfolds?

After getting some comments from our readers on the iPod-from-Space post, concerning the accuracy of the dates in the Terrabyte screenshot, we dropped an email to TerraServers to see if we could get any further answers. Here’s what they sent us:

You can’t get the whole planet shot all in one day, so it is made up of various collection dates in 1999. When you have a large date range over a big mosaic like this, the company that took it will often just give the month or year taken. In cases like this, to specify a date, we use the first of the month or first of the year. So, all of the 1/1/1999 pictures would be made up of shots taken during 1999 or possibly some in 1998 or 2000. They’d probably go with the year with the majority. This 15m satellite mosaic covers most or all of the earth’s surface and is the last full collection that we know of. That’s partly because one of the Landsat satellites failed or crashed a couple of years back. It is the main baseline imagery that us and the rest of the major imagery sites use to show basic coverage worldwide. That’s why you’ll see the same picture between us because it’s all coming from the same original imagery.

I was able to pick off the coordinates from the image at full size on Flickr and get to it on our site. My best guess from looking at the area just north of it is that it’s part of a strip mining operation. The “screen” of the iPod might be a big holding pond or quarry pond

 Anywhere from 1998 to 2000, huh? Strip mine? Quarry pond? Sounds feasible, given the original post, but still doesn’t nail down an absolute date. So perhaps it still remains a mystery.