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Understanding how space tech can help the world fight COVID pandemic

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Michael Strahan, former soccer star and host of “Good Morning America,” might 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 will not 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 grew to become 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 might know-how developed for area assist us battle the pandemic?

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

How a lot a seat into area prices: William Shatner went to space. Here’s how much it would cost you.

Telemedicine was ‘developed by area companies’

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

In truth, 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 mentioned, civilians performed a collection of experiments, comparable to drawing blood in area, and shared the information with researchers on Earth.

“Telemedicine was truly developed by area companies as effectively to be able to present care, monitor the care of astronauts,” says Dr. Farhan Asrar, a medical physician and international school member on the Worldwide House College. Asrar was a contributor to the Nature Drugs 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 know-how has already been utilized by Canadian astronauts to monitor a number of key parameters of well being, comparable to blood stress, temperature, respiration fee and coronary heart fee, all of which have been streamed a whole lot of miles from Earth aboard the Worldwide House Station.

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

Extra:NASA launches spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept

Utilizing satellite tv for pc imagery to observe development

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

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

“There are a number of parameters which you’ll be able to monitor utilizing satellites,” Asrar says. “We are able to monitor temperatures that are perfect for these infectious situations in order that if an outbreak is happening, you should utilize this know-how to observe the development.”

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

How does COVID-19 have an effect on me?:Don’t miss an update with the Coronavirus Watch newsletter.

Isolation and creating methods to protect psychological well being

Yet another factor we will study 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 the same sense, social distancing tips have prevented individuals from gathering and made these with restricted technological assets much more remoted, the paper factors out.

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

Each analysis papers recommend that by understanding how astronauts deal with isolation, we will develop higher methods for preserving our psychological well being in the course of the pandemic.

Really feel such as you’re surviving, not thriving:Join us at Keeping it Together, a newsletter about wellness and living life amid COVID-19.

Comply with Michelle Shen on Twitter @michelle_shen10

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