Month: May 2020

Using Space Technologies In Studying The Effects Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had everybody on their toes ever since cases have escalated and cities shut down. With almost 200 countries infected and cases amounting to more than four million globally, nations are struggling to flatten the curve in their respective areas.

Governments have actively imposed community quarantine measures, and businesses have been down since then. Only companies with essential products like banking, fast-moving consumer goods like food, agriculture, and pharmacies are allowed to operate.

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In some areas, governments are finding ways of creating lifestyle continuity for their constituents in this new normal. It seems both private and public sectors have taken the responsibility to contribute in appeasing this global unresolve. Individual people, organizations, and non-government units have donated goods or equipment to hospitals, governments, and groups in need.

On the other hand, big companies like Google and Apple have also teamed up to use technology in combating COVID-19. They have designed mobile apps as an innovative means for contact-tracing and alerts and updates.

This time is possibly the most suitable time for maximizing technology for the general well-being of humanity. As people turn to technologies for genuine solutions, we would like to share other examples of helpful techniques in action.

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The World From Space

Several images from space satellites circulate the internet comparing shots of the world from before and during the COVID siege. They have photos of the Disneyland theme park without lines for the rides, or cars in the parking lots.

As people grasp the reality that COVID brings about long term effects, governments urge them to spend for necessities only. We are all left wondering when this pandemic will end. Therefore, as consumers, we must exercise prudence in only bringing home essentials and prioritizing daily needs. Non-essential items are the least of our concerns.

In some households, strictly sticking to daily necessities is the only option. Around 33 million people filed for unemployment in the United States alone. This statistic implicates people are more dependable on government aid.

Highways and freeways are empty as authorities limit mobility as much as possible. Lanes that once filled with numerous lines of cars are sparse. From space satellites, highways look like an unmoving grey strip. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use these aerial shots as data layers.

Since we’d like to limit mobility, this technology enables us to obtain information without actually visiting the area. These images help in determining the number of supplies needed in a field, how to get there, and mapping transmission patterns to prevent disease.

Source: unsplash.com

Probing The Environmental Impacts

In other news, global greenhouse gas emissions are lower according to research from trusted organizations like the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). Being on the same page with business tycoons are the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA), helping with intel and information.

NASA and ESA have been monitoring this whole situation and the bigger picture, literally. With their satellite footage, CREA observed a drastic decline in nitrogen oxide emissions in cities like Italy and China. 

This observation implies how great of an effect the lockdown and travel ban on land and air transportation has on our environment. Environmentalists identify this change to be short-term unless governments and businesses should strictly enforce sustainable business practices.

Data Is Key

Program Manager for Health and Air Quality Applications, John Haynes, MS, shares how their team helps fight the pandemic. “As we continue to collect Earth-observing satellite data on a global scale, we can aid in the understanding of global changes resulting from the pandemic, as well as investigate potential environmental signals that may influence the spread of COVID-19.”

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We’ve all heard before that information is vital. It is power. For instance, NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) enables us to understand the environmental effects of COVID; they also have other pertinent tools.

Their datasets from Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) also provide information to power an interactive mapping tool to visualize a population’s spatial data based on age and sex. The information here indicates the spread of the virus among specific demographics.

Aside from those, they also involve themselves with government agencies to share intel on water resources, health, and disasters. These datasets provide findings regarding the environment to make better public health decisions. They also help in collecting information to evaluate crop production to safeguard food supplies in a crisis.

Therefore, space technology like satellites can aid in pooling crucial intel to help the world recover from this pandemic. From providing footage with convenience and monitoring the earth in a bigger picture, we can learn about the pandemic’s effects on-ground while finding solutions toward global recovery.