airborne laser

The top image is a photograph of a lush rainforest canopy. The bottom image colors each tree based on its species.

How? It’s all thanks to a special lab built by ecologist Greg Asner inside a twin-turboprop airplane. From a few thousand feet up, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory uses lasers, spectrometers and other instruments to build a detailed 3-D model of a forest, identify different species of vegetation and quantify carbon sequestration. It’s a lot quicker than tramping through the jungle and taking these measurements on foot.

A fun tidbit from the full story:
“On one occasion, he and his team mapped more than 6,500 square miles of the Colombian Amazon at night — about the size of Connecticut plus Rhode Island — flying with all their lights out to avoid being shot at by the FARC, the Colombian rebel force.

Images: Greg Asner, Carnegie Airborne Observatory


YAL 1A /Future Weapons Airborne Laser (via idomineo)  米軍・ボーイング開発。エアボーンレーザー、つまり空中発射レーザー兵器システム。 747-400(AC130搭載も考えてるみたい)に、スヌーピーの鼻みたいな銃座(Turret)をセット。頭の上にある半導体レーザーの照射で微妙な大気の揺らぎの影響も計測しながら、正確に目標をロックオン。高出力ケミカルレーザーで、あらゆる種類のミサイルを迎撃するんだと。 2007年に低出力レーザーで試験して、2010年にもテスト。開発は順調じゃないみたい。

肝はメガワット級の酸素-ヨウ素化学レーザー(=COIL:Chemical oxygen iodine laser)。