Lasers put planets on accurate map

August 21, 1998

SPACE exploration will receive a boost from a new laser measuring technique due to be announced at a conference in Glasgow next month. Scientists at Nasa in the United States have devised a system using short-pulse laser bursts to measure the distances between earth and other planets to the nearest ten centimetres. The technology can also be used to map distant planetary surfaces accurately. John Degnan, of Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, will reveal the findings at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics/Europe and European Quantum Electronics Conference 1998 to be held between September 13 and 18.

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