How Space Tech Can Help The World Fight The Pandemic


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Michael Strahan, former soccer star and host of “Good Morning America,” can be taking off with a crew of 5 different passengers on Dec. 9, amidst a worldwide pandemic and rising instances of the brand new omicron variant.

Strahan gained’t be the primary civilian in area. In September, the Inspiration4 launch despatched 4 civilians (a doctor’s assistant, an aerospace employee, a professor and a billionaire) into orbit. In October, William Shatner turned the oldest particular person to enter area, on the age of 90.

Civilian spaceflight launches have had a shining highlight in a time when COVID devastated areas all around the globe. Some, like Prince William, have even criticized the obsession on spaceflight, saying billionaires and corporations ought to focus extra on addressing points nearer to Earth.

However may expertise developed for area assist us battle the pandemic?

An article launched in September within the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medication investigated how space-based applied sciences may very well be used to assist handle and forestall pandemics.

Telemedicine was ‘developed by area companies’

When astronauts are in area, for instance, their medical information is meticulously tracked, the paper says.

In actual fact, astronauts typically run medical experiments in area to assist researchers higher perceive how the human physique reacts to the properties of area, in accordance with Phil McAlister, director of economic spaceflight at NASA.

For the SpaceX Inspiration4 launch, McAlister stated, civilians performed a collection of experiments, similar to drawing blood in area, and shared the information with researchers on Earth.

“Telemedicine was really developed by area companies as properly so as to present care, monitor the care of astronauts,” says Dr. Farhan Asrar, a medical physician and international college member on the Worldwide Space College. Asrar was a contributor to the Nature Medication article.

Equally, Asrar factors out, telemedicine can be utilized to observe and assess COVID sufferers remotely with out the chance of infecting healthcare employees.

Asrar says that wearable technology has already been utilized by Canadian astronauts to observe a number of key parameters of well being, similar to blood stress, temperature, respiratory price and coronary heart price, all of which had been streamed a whole lot of miles from Earth aboard the Worldwide Space Station.

These wearable gadgets can be utilized by healthcare employees to detect early on whether or not they’re creating and spreading signs, the paper suggests.

Utilizing satellite tv for pc imagery to observe development

Satellite tv for pc imagery may contribute to pandemic planning and the distribution of vaccines in opposition to COVID-19, in accordance with the paper.

Satellites launched into area have already helped plot illness transmission throughout the Ebola outbreak, the paper factors out. Within the combat in opposition to polio, satellite tv for pc photographs discovered marginalized and beforehand unknown villages in Nigeria, aiding with eradication efforts.

“There are a number of parameters which you’ll monitor utilizing satellites,” Asrar says. “We will monitor temperatures that are perfect for these infectious situations in order that if an outbreak is going on, you should use this expertise to observe the development.”

Asrar cites utilizing satellite tv for pc monitoring on mosquito populations as a possible solution to predict outbreaks of malaria.

Isolation and creating strategies to protect psychological well being

Yet another factor we are able to be taught from astronauts is the science of managing isolation, the paper says.

Astronauts typically need to be in area for days or months on finish, with little or no contact with their family members. In an analogous sense, social distancing pointers have prevented individuals from gathering and made these with restricted technological assets much more remoted, the paper factors out.

In one other article revealed in Nature in Might of 2020, astronauts shared ways in which they handled isolation in space, together with having a fastidiously managed each day routine and structuring work round an inspiring mission.

Each analysis papers counsel that by understanding how astronauts address isolation, we are able to develop higher strategies for preserving our psychological well being throughout the pandemic.


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