NASA Space Lasers to Map Earth's Forests in 3D

18 November 2014

A new laser instrument developed for the International Space Station is expected to generate incredible 3D maps of Earth's forests.

The instrument called Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) uses lidar, a special kind of laser technology, to create detailed 3D maps and measure the biomass of forests. NASA has already launched a satellite designed to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but the new instrument, once launched, will allow scientists to estimate the total amount of carbon stored here on Earth inside trees.

"GEDI lidar will have a tremendous impact on our ability to monitor forest degradation, adding to the critical data needed to mitigate the effects of climate change," Patrick O'Shea, chief research officer at the University of Maryland, said in a statement. 

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