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

A view of the forest in French Guyana near Dorlin, on December 1, 2012
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

GOCE Earth explorer satellite to look at the Earth's surface and core

© 2013 AFP

Citation: Forest-mapping satellite to join Earth study mission, ESA said (2013, May 7) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-05-forest-mapping-satellite-earth-mission-esa.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more