Why are Morton Arboretum scientists teaming up with NASA aerospace engineers to study urban tree health?
NASA Expert and Scientists to Discuss This Unlikely Partnership and the History-Making Use of Space Shuttle Technology for Trees on December 11 from 3-4 p.m. at the Morton Arboretum.
LISLE, IL (December 4, 2012) - Morton Arboretum tree researchers and NASA engineers will reveal the secrets to their scientific pairing – and tell you what aeronautics has to do with the trees in your backyard at a December 11 presentation from 3-4 p.m. open to the public in the Sterling Morton Library.
“We’re taking this vital technology used for the Shuttle program into the field of trees,” said Matt Melis, a longtime NASA engineer who leads NASA's Glenn Research Center Ballistics Impact Lab, in Cleveland, Ohio where engineers tested Shuttle parts for their ability to withstand hits from debris. Melis' team launched this testing in Feb. 2003 after Columbia broke apart while re-entering Earth's atmosphere.
As part of the Arboretum’s ongoing Zone 5 Science Café series, Mellis will join Gary Watson, PhD senior research scientist at the Arboretum, to share a behind-the-scenes look at the scientific research NASA and the Arboretum teamed up on earlier this fall to explore tree biomechanics (aka how trees stand up and fall down).
The research has an important outcome for homeowners as tree scientists and arborists are hoping to identify tree risk management specifically in urban or landscape settings where damaged trees pose a public safety and property damage, said Watson. His research into tree biomechanics is funded The Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund), which provides research grants, scholarships and educational programs to advance knowledge in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry. That funding supports the NASA involvement through a contractual arrangement known as a Space Act Agreement.
“On the simplest level it will help arborists determine whether a tree is safe and can be left standing,” said Watson.”It can also provide another tool and insight into tree’s resilience when they get wounded and its ability to compensate so we don’t have to take down trees.”
The cost of the event is $5 for members and $6 for non-members. To register:
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