NASA remote sensing missions involving laser systems and their economic impact are coutlined. Potential remote sensing missions include: green house gasses, tropospheric winds, ozone, water vapor, and ice cap thickness. Systems to perform these measurements use lanthanide series lasers and nonlinear devices including second harmonic generators and parametric oscillators. Demands these missions place on the laser and nonlinear optical materials are discussed from a materials point of view. Methods of designing new laser and nonlinear optical materials to meet these demands are presented.