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Forest-mapping satellite to join Earth study mission

Published on May 7, 2013 11:33 PM

PARIS (AFP) - 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 on Tuesday.

Dubbed "Biomass", the satellite will use sophisticated radar technology 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.

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