Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar

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Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation lidar (GEDI)
ManufacturerGoddard Space Flight Center
Instrument typeLIDAR
Function3D structure of forests
Mission duration2 years
Host spacecraft
SpacecraftInternational Space Station
Launch date5 December 2018
RocketFalcon 9 Block 5
Launch siteCape Canaveral SLC-40

Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation LIDAR (GEDI, pronounced /ˈɛd/) is a NASA mission to measure how deforestation has contributed to atmospheric CO2 concentrations.[1][2] A full-waveform LIDAR will be attached to the International Space Station to provide the first global, high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure. This will allow scientists to map habitats and biomass, particularly in the tropics, providing detail on the Earth's carbon cycle.[3]

The Principal Investigator is Ralph Dubayah, at the University of Maryland. The Deputy Principal Investigator & Instrument Scientist is J. Bryan Blair at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.


GEDI was competitively selected as a NASA Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) mission in 2014. Cost-capped at $94 M, GEDI is led by the University of Maryland in collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.[4]

Climate change is closely tied to that of the carbon cycle.[3] GEDI produces high resolution laser ranging observations of the 3D structure of the forests Earth, which will provide answers to how deforestation has contributed to atmospheric CO2 concentrations, how much carbon forests will absorb in the future, and how habitat degradation will affect global biodiversity and the water cycle.[1] This in turn, is also of value for weather forecasting, forest management, glacier and snowpack monitoring.[1] Overall, GEDI will help to better understand how the Earth behaves as a living system.

It launched on 5 December 2018 on board a Falcon 9 and it is part of the SpaceX CRS-16 mission. It will be mounted on the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Kibo module for a two-year mission.[1][5] The mission is being led by Professor Ralph Dubayah of the University of Maryland.


The GEDI instrument is a geodetic-class, light detection and ranging (Lidar) laser system consisting of three lasers that produce eight parallel tracks of observations. Each laser fires 242 times per second and illuminates a 25 m spot (a footprint) on the surface over which 3D structure is measured. Each footprint is separated by 60 m along track, with an across-track distance of about 600 m between each of the eight tracks. GEDI is expected to produce about 10 billion cloud-free observations during its nominal 24-month mission length.[1][2][4]

The three HOMER lasers built and installed on GEDI were built by D. Barry Coyle, Furqan L. Chiragh, and Erich A. Frese.


  1. ^ a b c d e GEDI Ecosystem LIDAR. Home site. Accessed on 1 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b NASA probe will reveal 3D architecture of forests from space. Richard Moss, New Atlas. 14 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b NASA has a plan to take the most detailed scans of the world's forests ever. Pierre Bienaimé, Business Insider - UK. 3 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b GEDI Media Resources. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. October 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "GEDI". Gunter's Space Page . Retrieved August 22, 2018.