NASA laser instrument to aid forest management, media briefing scheduled for Oct. 12

A NASA research aircraft will fly an innovative laser instrument over national forests in California?s Sierra Nevada Mountains beginning this weekend to for the first time map the insides of these forests. USDA Forest Service scientists hope to use these one-of-a-kind maps to identify mature "old-growth" forests and other habitats associated with sensitive wildlife species. When this technology is launched into space next year aboard the NASA/University of Maryland Vegetation Canopy Lidar (VCL) spacecraft, it will create the first global maps of forest vegetation.

A news media briefing on the NASA mission and its application to management of national forest lands will be held Tuesday, October 12 at 10 a.m. in Fresno, Calif. The briefing and tours of the NASA C-130 aircraft will be held at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Speakers include:

  • Ralph Dubayah, VCL principal investigator, University of Maryland
  • Bryan Blair, instrument principal investigator, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Carolyn Hunsaker, ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Fresno
  • Nancy Fleenor, project coordinator, USDA Forest Service, Sierra National Forest

Briefing location: Mercury Air Center, 5045 E. Anderson Ave. (tel. 559-454-7501). From the airport's main terminal, go to General Aviation, Gate 6B, and use the call box. If driving, take Clinton Ave. to Ashley Dr., which leads to Anderson Ave. Parking is available at the Central Tower lot.

A video file and color still images (.tif format) are available from NASA Goddard Public Affairs.


Contact: Allen Kenitzer
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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