Published online on September 24, 1999m. EDT (2031 GMT)
The model of the vegetation canopy lidar is ready to be shipped to the Alaska launch site for testing.
A research plane is flying over selected areas of the United States. S.
This month, a laser instrument was tested to map and measure the density and structure of forest vegetation.
The instrument will be launched into space next year to produce a global map of forest vegetation.
Scientists will use maps created by NASA/University of Maryland's vegetation canopy lidar to monitor the health of the forest and determine its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
They want to know if human activities in forests and forests, such as deforestation, are increasing or reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and thus have the potential to accelerate or suppress global warming.
"There is a lot of speculation now about how much carbon dioxide will be emitted into the air by cutting down forests," University of Maryland spokesman Lee Tune said . ".
"The vegetation canopy lidar instrument will take a full inventory of carbon in the world's forests for the first time.
"The instrument is used to map the erosion of the surface of Mars and the Earth's coast, containing five lasers that send energy pulses to the surface of the Earth.
Photons from the laser are reflected back to the instrument from leaves, branches and ground.
By analyzing these returned signals, scientists can directly measure the height of forest leaves.
The canopy covered, the terrain of the forest floor and the height of all the vegetation in.
Previous satellites have mapped the location of the forest in great detail, but the vegetation canopy lidar will be the first satellite to map the vertical dimensions of the forest.
Where the leaves, branches and branches are in the forest-
How much vegetation is high near the canopy or ground--
With the change of the forest era.
These maps will provide direct access to identification of degraded areas, regeneration areas and complete forests.
Scientists will also be able to figure out
The above-ground biomass of the forest, because they know that 50% of the forest biomass is composed of carbon, so they can estimate the amount of carbon contained in the forest.
In addition, biodiversity research can use a comprehensive assessment of forest structure and tissue by vegetation canopy lidar to identify and monitor important habitat.
The vegetation canopy lidar measurement of the aerodynamic roughness at the top of the forest will also help to improve the weather forecast by understanding the air flow on Earth.
The vegetation canopy lidar is scheduled to launch into space in September 2000 from the Kodiak Launch Center in Alaska.