MAR 17, 2019 10:45 AM PDT

Scientists Are Now Gauging Forest Growth with Space Lasers

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Studying forests and gauging their growth can be a grueling and tedious line of work, especially when mosquitoes are out in full-force. For this reason, scientists are now exploring innovative new ways of evaluating the forests here on Earth, and that includes using laser measurement systems that are situated in outer space.

GEDI, short for Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, is a high-resolution laser altimeter system that gathers topography information about the Earth’s tropical and temperate forests from the perspective of the International Space Station.

GEDI works by projecting laser arrays down on the Earth’s surface and then measuring the time it takes for the laser beam to bounce back – the shorter the time, the higher the altitude (and vice-versa). More importantly, GEDI can examine a stretch of up to 4.2 kilometers at a time, which provides superior data in a shorter time when compared to on-foot analyses.

With the help of these laser-based systems, scientists hope to answer ongoing questions about the Earth and its ecosystems, including those relating to deforestation and habitat degradation and how these factors influence atmospheric carbon absorption. But perhaps more importantly, lasers will give scientists the ability to gather information more accurately than ever before without needing to deal with mosquitoes or time constraints.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 17, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 17, 2019
How Much Do You Know About Triton?
Far beyond the reach of the terrestrial and gas giant planets in our solar system exists an entirely different class of world known as ice giants. Uranus a...
DEC 09, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2019
How Close is SpaceX to Sending Humans to Space?
NASA is one of the world’s most capable space agencies, but a crippling budget prevents it from developing a new space vehicle of its own. Instead, N...
DEC 15, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 15, 2019
MAVEN Mission Connects Mars' Wind Patterns to Surface Features
NASA’s MAVEN mission, launched on November 18th, 2013, has been orbiting Mars and investigating the planet’s features for more than half a deca...
DEC 18, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 18, 2019
Physics in Peril? (Part II) - Lost in the "Darkness"
Not many share the same antagonistic view with Sabine Hossenfelder, the physicist who associates the current awkward state of physical science with theoret...
JAN 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 20, 2020
SpaceX Demos Crew Dragon Launch Escape for NASA
SpaceX is one of two major players in NASA’s Commercial Crew program, an attempt to use third-party space companies to bring crewed space launches ba...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
Just How Powerful is a Piece of Space Debris?
One of the most commonly discussed topics in space science today is the space junk problem, in which space junk collides with objects to create space debri...
Loading Comments...