NASA's Laser Mission to Measure Trees

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17.12.2018
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The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) is a lidar instrument that sends laser pulses down to Earth, where they penetrate the globe's temperate and tropical forests. The laser beams ricochet off the first thing they hit, which can be a leaf atop a dense canopy, a protruding branch, or the ground from which the forest emerges. The energy returned to the GEDI telescope on the International Space Station will provide and intricate three-dimensional map of forest canopies.

"We can send out a little pulse of light and it travels down, reflects off the surface, and comes back," Bryan Blair, GEDI instrument scientist and deputy principal investigator, said. "We can see and measure how tall the tree is and we can actually see how dense it is as we go down."

The GEDI instrument was built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and has the highest resolution and densest sampling of any lidar every put in orbit. The mission is led by the University of Maryland and is designed to help researchers understand how ecosystems are storing carbon.

Music: Secret Science, by Lee Groves [PRS], Peter George Marett [PRS]; Team Effort, by Alexandre Prodhomme [SACEM], Eddy Pradelles [SACEM]

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA): Lead Producer
Aaron E. Lepsch (ADNET Systems Inc.): Technical Support
Rob Andreoli (AIMM): Videographer
John Caldwell (AIMM): Videographer
Ralph Dubayah (University of Maryland): Scientist
Bryan Blair (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Ralph Dubayah (University of Maryland): Interviewee
Bryan Blair (NASA/GSFC): Interviewee
Lisa Poje (Freelance): Animator
Walt Feimer (KBRwyle): Animator

This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13114

If you liked this video, subscribe to the NASA Goddard YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/NASAExplorer

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