The laser lady of Lauder
By day Penny Smale is a mum to two young boys, living on a rural property in the middle of a farming district in Central Otago.
By night, she leaves home, walks the short distance to what is essentially a large outbuilding in a paddock, and fires lasers into the sky. Penny operates a Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) instrument at the Lauder research station in Central Otago. Essentially, she fires lasers into the sky and uses a telescope to measure what comes back.