The Earth Explorer Biomass will provide global maps of the amount of carbon stored in the world's forests and how this changes over time, mainly through absorbing carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels.
Biomass will also provide essential support to UN treaties on the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Forest type and forest cover worldwide can be detected by today's satellites, but Biomass will take the information to the next level. Due for launch in 2021, the satellite will carry the first P-band synthetic aperture radar, able to deliver accurate maps of tropical, temperate and boreal forest biomass. The global mass of trees is not obtainable by ground measurement techniques. The five-year mission will witness at least eight growth cycles in the world's forests.
Observations from this new mission will also lead to better insight into rates of habitat loss and, therefore, the effect this may have on biodiversity in the forest environment.
03 May 2016
ESA and Airbus Defence and Space UK signed a €229 million contract on 29 April to build the next Earth Explorer: the Biomass satellite, due to begin its mission in 2021.
03 March 2016
With deforestation accounting for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, satellite observations have an important role to play in mapping this changing ecosystem. ESA is therefore going to great lengths to make sure a new sensor will live up to its promise.
Three-axes stabilised platform 10m high, 12m wide and 20m long (including large reflector).
ESA's Centre for Earth Observation (ESRIN) in Frascati, Italy.
The prime spacecraft contractor is Airbus Defence and Space (UK), (contract awarded in May. 2016).
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