Even in this age of advanced high-tech imagery and remote sensing, large swaths of Earth’s remaining old growth forests remain as elusive as they were a hundred years ago. But with next year’s launch of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Biomass satellite that should all change. …From its 666-kilometer polar (dawn-to-dusk) orbit, Biomass’ 5.5-year nominal mission will for the first time enable researchers to measure the globe’s forests in great detail. It will cover above-ground forest biomass, which ESA defines as the dry weight of live organic matter above the soil, including stem, stump, branches, seeds and foliage. It does not include below-ground biomass (root systems, for instance). The spacecraft will also take stock of areas that have been deforested or logged. After months of successful testing, ESA announced yesterday that this new earth explorer mission is a few Steps closer to its mission.