NASA and Morton Arboretum

What do NASA and the Morton Arboretum have in common?

The two joined forces in September to use a new technology called stereo photogrammetry to diagram the behavior of Ash trees in high winds and other forces of nature, marking the second time it has ever been done.

The process uses black dots on a white surface and HD cameras to create a 3D displacement image of the tree and was originally employed by NASA to study the failure of the space shuttle Columbia.

Officials from both organizations recently gathered in Lisle to present their joint research on what makes trees fall down in storms or withstand them to help homeowners better protect themselves and their property.

“There’s a big interest in safety, due to branches or limbs throughout the year falling,” said Matt Melis, an Aeronautical Engineer for NASA. “If we recognize they have a tendency to fall, through the ability to measure them, can we advance that?”

This technology is also being used around the country to test car crash impacts, displacement of skin by certain razors to reduce cuts, and to study earthquake damage on wind-turbines.

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