Weighing the Earth’s forests
A new satellite built in the UK is designed to weigh the world's trees. The Biomass mission's novel space radar will make 3D maps of forests, improving our understanding of how carbon is cycled through the Earth system.
The satellite will be equipped with a new P-band radar which, pulsing with a wavelength of 70cm, will look through the leaf canopy of forests to the woody parts below. Using an approach akin to tomography, it will scan slices through the trees on repeat passes to build up a picture of how much woody material is present.
Global maps should be produced every six months and the project is planned to gather at least five years' worth of data. The data will be important for climate research, and will create a baseline for treaties that seek to monitor the status of global forest resources.
The mission launches in 2021 and is part of Esa's Earth Explorer programme.
Click here for source (BBC)
Image Credit: European Space Agency