The colossal impacts of that tiny virus are visible from space. Wired magazine reported about a Colorado-based space technology company Maxartaking low-Earth orbit satellite photographs of COVID-19 hotspots, capturing images of empty cities, make-shift hospitals being constructed and airport rental car lots suddenly filled with cars as people stopped traveling.
But the flipside question to those photos is also worth asking: What is the impact of coronavirus on space?
Despite the outbreak, NASA is working hard to ensure the launch of the Mars 2020 mission in July. Limiting or even suspending other space projects amid the global pandemic, the US Space Agency made Mars 2020 its top priority, especially since their Chinese counterparts have no intention of giving up their ambitious Martian project Huoxing-1 scheduled for take-off on July 23, reports Le Monde.
Some missions are still being carried out: American astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian Cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner were launched to the International Space Station on April 9 after being quarantined for two weeks.
Three other astronauts, instead, are set to leave what might be the "safest place for human beings," after more than six months aboard the ISS, with return scheduled for Friday to an Earth that is forever changed. In a video interview, U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir said that she and her fellow crew members exercise daily to maintain their physical and mental health, and keep in touch with friends and family via weekly video chats. Sound familiar?
Meanwhile, NASA has set up a crowdsourcing platform to exchange research ideas to aid in the fight against the pandemic, with three areas in which it could potentially make the most meaningful difference: personal protective equipment, ventilators and forecasting the spread and impact of the coronavirus.
Al-Jazeera reports that NASA with the Space Medicine Innovations Laboratory at Dartmouth University have developed a self-guided online program to manage conflict, stress, and depression. This conflict resolution module designed for astronauts on missions for long periods of time in tight living quarters is now available for everyone.
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