Do you like science? Secretly wish you worked for NASA? Got a smartphone? Then here’s an opportunity for you!
NASA is looking for citizen scientists to help collect data for the ICESat-2 satellite, which was launched in September 2018. An instrument onboard called ATLAS fires 10,000 laser pulses at the Earth’s surface every second to measure the heights of trees, land features and sea elevation at any location on our planet by recording how long it takes these pulses of light to reflect back to the satellite. The goal is to use this information to monitor the health of the world’s forests, the impact of global warming on glaciers, and the rate at which sea levels are rising.
NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite
Here’s where you come in. Measuring the height of trees from space isn’t easy, so NASA needs to calibrate the satellite’s estimate of tree heights with boots-on-the-ground measurements. All you have to do is snap photos of trees near your home and in your town using a smartphone app called GLOBE Observer that NASA has developed. By taking pictures of trees you’ll be adding valuable information to NASA’s database, which will allow ICESat-2 to more reliably determine ...