Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Maryland Researchers Will Study Forests With NASA Laser Instrument

Date:
September 13, 1999
Source:
University Of Maryland, College Park
Summary:
A NASA research aircraft will fly over selected U.S. forests this month with an innovative laser instrument to find out for the first time just how much vegetation is in these forests. When this technology is launched into space next year aboard the NASA/University of Maryland Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL)spacecraft, it will create the first global maps of forest vegetation.

COLLEGE PARK -- A NASA research aircraft will fly over selected U.S. forests this month with an innovative laser instrument to find out for the first time just how much vegetation is in these forests. When this technology is launched into space next year aboard the NASA/University of Maryland Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL)spacecraft, it will create the first global maps of forest vegetation. Scientists will use these maps to monitor the health of forests and the capacity of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

VCL mission scientists will discuss the upcoming flights and will present new results from rain forest research flights conducted over Costa Rica in 1998 at a news media briefing Friday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. The briefing will be held at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., in Room 1124 of LeFrak Hall. The University's Geography Department will house command-and-control and data processing operations for the VCL mission. Scientists at the briefing include:

* Samuel Goward, chair, University of Maryland Geography Department

* Ralph Dubayah, VCL principal investigator, University of Maryland

* Bryan Blair, Instrument principal investigator, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

* Robert Knox, Forest ecologist and VCL science team member, NASA Goddard

The new instrument uses a sensor technology known as lidar (light detection and ranging) that other missions have used to map the surface of Mars and coastal erosion on Earth. The unique adaptation of this technology onboard VCL will accurately map the ground hidden beneath dense forests and measure the structure and density of the forest. VCL observations will aid scientists studying global climate change and monitoring forest ecosystems around the world.

The aircraft flights will map portions of three forests with the Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS), built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.). Flying aboard a NASA Wallops Flight Facility C-130 aircraft, LVIS will map eastern U.S. forests in Maryland, North Carolina, and New Hampshire beginning Sept. 16. Mapping in California's Sequoia National Forest starts Sept. 28. LVIS flights over the Costa Rican rain forest produced the first finescale measurements of topography hidden beneath the forest canopy, canopy height and structure, and tropical forest biomass using remote sensing.

Media briefings during the airborne campaigns are planned for NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Va., and Fresno, Calif. For more information,contact Lee Tune, University of Maryland Office of University Relations, tel. 301-405-4679; e-mail ltune@accmail.umd.edu.

The VCL lidar instrument contains five lasers that send pulses of energy to the Earth's surface. Photons from the lasers bounce off leaves, branches, and the ground and reflect back to the instrument. By analyzing these returned signals, scientists receive a direct measurement of the height of the forest's leaf-covered canopy, the ground-level below and everything in between.

VCL is scheduled for launch in September 2000 from Alaska's Kodiak Launch Complex. This will be the first orbital launch from the new Kodiak Island facility. The VCL mission is the first selected program of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder project. The mission is led by the University of Maryland with collaboration from NASA Goddard's Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics and other academic and industrial contributors, including Orbital Sciences Corp., Omitron Inc., Swales Aerospace, Fibertek Inc., Raytheon, and Universal Space Network.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Maryland, College Park. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Maryland, College Park. "University Of Maryland Researchers Will Study Forests With NASA Laser Instrument." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990913070941.htm>.
University Of Maryland, College Park. (1999, September 13). University Of Maryland Researchers Will Study Forests With NASA Laser Instrument. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990913070941.htm
University Of Maryland, College Park. "University Of Maryland Researchers Will Study Forests With NASA Laser Instrument." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990913070941.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins