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Four hundred miles out in space, NASA's Aqua satellite has taken pictures of the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. In this image from Sunday, the center of it is about even with the mouth of the Mississippi River. We're told it covers 400 square miles.
The Coast Guard says 42,000 gallons of oil are leaking from the well into the gulf daily (forgive me for omitting the word earlier). By oil-spill standards, it is big but not record-setting; the Exxon Valdez, 21 years ago, spilled close to 11 million gallons into much colder waters. The Gulf of Mexico has the advantage of being warm; a fair amount of oil will likely evaporate before it can reach the Louisiana coast.
We are in a very serious situation," said Rear Adm. Mary Landry of the Coast Guard. "Forty-five to 90 days is the initial estimate. That's an estimate right now before this well could be secured."
This comes less than a week after Landry told ABC News that "We've been able to determine that there is nothing emanating from the wellhead."