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We Study Trees at NASA, Too

People are often surprised to learn that I’m a NASA scientist who studies trees. Many don’t realize that in addition to searching the universe, much of NASA’s research focuses on the only known planet to host life – our own. I study Earth’s forests with satellite data, and we are about to enter a particularly exciting decade for Forest research. In November of this year, NASA is launching a mission (The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation, GEDI) to shoot lasers at Earth’s surface from the International Space Station (ISS). GEDI (pronounced JEDI, à la Star Wars), has a primary mission science goal to produce a detailed 3D map of the carbon content stored in Earth’s forests. Before now we have mostly examined forests in 2D, but satellite imagery doesn’t show us how tall trees are or how much carbon they store. Read More

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