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
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
Astronomers Find At Least 20 More Moons Orbiting Saturn
Just this past week, Saturn overtook Jupiter as the planet in our solar system with the highest number of moons. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution...
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
Here's What We Know So Far About Titan's Liquid Methane Oceans
Titan is perhaps one of the most captivating moons orbiting Saturn today; so much so that astronomers spent a lot of time studying it when the Cassini miss...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
Is the Milky Way Too "Gassy"?
Astrophysicists have long thought that our home galaxy the Milky Way has been constantly losing mass due to the escape of hydrogen gas. However, by observi...
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
Apollo 12 - A Dramatic Journey Led by the Desire to Explore
On November 19th, the Apollo 12 astronauts, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean, became, respectively, the third and the fourth men to ever walk on the Moon’s...
DEC 12, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 12, 2019
The Air Force's X-37B Plane Spent 780 Days in Space, But Why?
The United States Air Force regularly conducts top-secret missions and science experiments on behalf of the federal government. One of the military branch&...
DEC 12, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 12, 2019
Wanna Venture Outside of the Solar System? Try a "Skyhook"
Rocket engines are expensive to build, and their speed and the distance of travel are also limited by their own weight and the fuel they carry. But there&#...
Loading Comments...