Smithsonian Magazine reports on the innovative device being created for the International Space Station: the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI). This $94 million instrument is on track to launch in 2018, utilizing the reflection of infrared lasers to measure the density of forests living in space, 268 miles above Earth.

GEDI will produce the most accurate data on forest density in history. This allows for more precise estimates on “the appetite for atmospheric carbon dioxide”, directly relating to climate change.

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