Image of the Week #34, March 19th, 2012:

From: L is for LIDAR by Jennifer Ouellette at Cocktail Party Physics.

Source: NOAA/U.S. Army JPSD.

It’s important to note the types of visuals we have that earlier generations would not have been privy to: we live at a time when, (from Jennifer Ouellette’s post), “LIDAR has been used for search and rescue, too, most notably in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For several days after the World Trade Center fell, a small plane made several passes over Ground Zero in Manhattan (and also over the damaged Pentagon in Washington, DC) taking LIDAR readings of the debris courtesy of a company called EarthData. The company used the collected data to produce topographical images of the sites. This in turn helped rescue workers navigate the often-treacherous terrain by identifying unstable areas likely to shift or collapse.” A stunning image evoking a terrifying day, used in the service of safety.