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Return of GEDI Forest Mapping Tool on International Space Station Scheduled for Monday

By Maryland Today Staff

After a year in hibernation aboard the International Space Station, a NASA tool to observe ecosystems led by a University of Maryland geographer will be prepared for a return to service on Monday—Earth Day.

Data from the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) been used widely to help researchers understand how changes in forest structure are impacting climate—atmospheric CO2 concentrations in particular—and how we can use forests to potentially slow global warming.

GEDI—pronounced the same way a “Star Wars” fan says “Jedi”—provides precise measurements of forest canopy height, canopy vertical structure and surface elevation using a laser measurement method called Light Detection and Ranging (lidar).

GEDI was temporarily moved into storage to make way for another orbital project upon the completion of its first mission, which ran from December 2018 to March 2023. After being reinstalled in its original location on Monday, it will be powered up on Tuesday for what the GEDI teams hopes will be six or more years of forest monitoring.

“GEDI had an amazing four years of operation that produced tremendous science value for the community,” said Ralph Dubayah, GEDI’s principal investigator and a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences. “I am thrilled that NASA has given GEDI the opportunity to once again begin collecting these important measurements.”

For additional GEDI news and updates, follow @GEDI_Knights on X.

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