Forest-mapping satellite to join Earth study mission, ESA said

May 07, 2013
A view of the forest in French Guyana near Dorlin, on December 1, 2012. A satellite that will map the world's forests has been chosen for the seventh mission in Europe's Earth Explorer project, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Tuesday.

A satellite that will map the world's forests has been chosen for the seventh mission in Europe's Earth Explorer project, the European Space Agency (ESA) said Tuesday.

Dubbed "Biomass", the satellite will use sophisticated to map and monitor living matter—plants and animals—as well as inorganic carbon contained in forests, one of the world's most precious resources.

"This information, which is poorly known in the tropics, is essential to our understanding of the role of forests in Earth's carbon cycle and in climate change," ESA said in a statement.

It will also allow scientists to map the elevation of inaccessible parts of the planet covered by dense vegetation, and provide data on sub-surface geology and ice-sheet cover.

ESA said its Earth Observation programme board selected "Biomass" on Tuesday from among three proposed missions.

It is due to be launched in 2020.

Earth Explorer missions already in orbit are providing data on the cryosphere—those parts of Earth's surface where water is frozen—as well as on gravity, soil moisture and .

Future missions that have already been approved will study the Earth's magnetic field, wind and radiation.

Earth Explorer seeks a better understanding of the changes our planet is undergoing, including the and population growth.

Explore further: Observing the onset of a magnetic substorm

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Eurockot to launch 2 ESA Earth observation missions

Apr 09, 2010

ESA has awarded a contract to Eurockot for the launch of two of its Earth observation missions. The first will be the next Earth Explorer: Swarm, a constellation of three satellites to study Earth's magnetic ...

ESA's SMOS water mission goes live

May 21, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESA's SMOS satellite completed its six-month commissioning this week and formally began operational life. This milestone means the mission is now set to provide much-needed global images of ...

Recommended for you

Observing the onset of a magnetic substorm

15 hours ago

Magnetic substorms, the disruptions in geomagnetic activity that cause brightening of aurora, may sometimes be driven by a different process than generally thought, a new study in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Ph ...

We are all made of stars

17 hours ago

Astronomers spend most of their time contemplating the universe, quite comfortable in the knowledge that we are just a speck among billions of planets, stars and galaxies. But last week, the Australian astronomical ...

ESA video: The ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre loading process

18 hours ago

This time-lapse video shows the ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre loading process and its integration on the Ariane 5 launcher before its transfer and launch to the International Space Station from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French ...

Titan's subsurface reservoirs modify methane rainfall

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The international Cassini mission has revealed hundreds of lakes and seas spread across the icy surface of Saturn's moon Titan, mostly in its polar regions. These lakes are filled not with water ...

User comments : 0