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How Space Companies Helped Fighting Coronavirus

By Gabriel Manor

Description: Space technology is being repurposed to help fight coronavirus. Find out how cutting-edge innovations and geospatial satellite monitoring are helping save lives back on Earth.

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With the Earthís population still in the clutches of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than a million people around the world, governments and health advisers are understandably thinking outside the box for ways of fighting COVID-19. It seems that turning their attention upward is paying off, as space agencies and geospatial satellite providers around the world are coming together to help tackle the effects of the crisis. While many will ask what are satellites used for when fighting a disease like COVID-19, their potential to help is actually considerable. Much like the military, the space industry is on the cutting edge of developing technologies that go on to have a far-reaching impact on civilian life. Now, these space companies fighting coronavirus are helping experts track the impact of the pandemic to enable authorities to create much more efficient responses.

Space Agencies Help Fight Coronavirus

NASA is one such institution thatís on the frontline of repurposing space technology for fighting coronavirus. It makes sense since NASA has experience with sterilizing environments and providing their astronauts with advanced personal protective equipment. The agency has developed an oxygen hood that allows wearers to breathe freely whilst protecting other medical staff from airborne infection. NASA is also providing sterilization technology for fighting coronavirus previously used to treat Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. Across the Atlantic, the European Space Agency (ESA) is also rallying the continentís best space experts together in an effort to develop technology for fighting coronavirus. Its ďSpace in response to COVID-19 outbreakĒ initiative is offering substantial funding for companies to develop space technology solutions and new ways to fight the virus. Additionally, the ESAís Earth Observation Programme that runs from its flagship Copernicus platform will be collecting massive amounts of geospatial data to help European states tackle the effects of COVID-19.

How to Fight the Coronavirus with Satellites

Indeed, geospatial satellite imaging might be the area where space firms can make the greatest difference in fighting coronavirus. Thanks to advances in AI and machine learning, sophisticated analytics technology can now automatically process huge amounts of image data to help track everything from population movement to supply chain logistics and economic stagnation. The technology seems especially promising when it comes to tracking the movement of people with COVID-19. However, itís also provided an astonishing insight into the environmental impact of the pandemic. Satellites have helped show a decrease in emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen caused by low economic activity in the wake of mass lockdowns and social distancing. This information will be critical in determining whether an area is successfully fighting coronavirus and the state of local economic recovery. Itíll also help establish crucial data on whether food supply lines in shipping and freight are operating at full capacity. In countries like China and the United Arab Emirates, satellite monitoring is being used to track citizensí movement during the lockdown and ensure population density in public spaces is effectively moderated.

Satellites to Boost Relief Logistics

The data derived from satellites could prove critical to fighting coronavirus on different fronts. For the coronavirus to truly recede from public life, the global population will have to achieve herd immunity. However, this will be less likely if there are large pockets of the planetís population who, for logistical or economic reasons, fail to access vaccines and other healthcare amenities. Roughly one billion people around the globe live in unmapped areas, which makes planning vaccine relief efforts incredibly uncertain. Fortunately, satellite imagery is being used to help map out these areas, which can then inform more effective vaccine delivery and relief strategies for fighting coronavirus.

Fighting Coronavirus with Data

Some people have voiced privacy concerns about the unmitigated use of satellite technology to track individuals in the effort for fighting coronavirus. While these concerns may be understandable, it seems that GPS technology presents the best available infrastructure for an effective track and trace program. Quantifiable information will be needed to plan an agile and effective response to COVID-19, and space technology offers an unparalleled source of accurate data. Once the medical threat of the virus has been overcome, reconstruction of the global economy will also benefit from the tracking power offered by geospatial satellite analytics.

Conclusion: Stellar Ways to Fight Coronavirus

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Pandemics have threatened the human race for millennia, but today, advanced technology is enabling us to mitigate the damage and save lives that would otherwise have been lost. Space technology is being implemented in medical treatments in fighting coronavirus to help give COVID-19 patients the best possible chance of survival. Elsewhere, geospatial satellites are helping to track the effects of the virus and will help transmit coronavirus news to ensure the fastest road to recovery. We may be witnessing a moment of truth for the space industry: can the potential of these commercial technologies be deployed outside of the marketplace to help save lives and support countriesí response measures? With bodies like NASA and ESA coming together to help catalyze a call to action from the space industry, it seems like the technology will make a big difference in leaving the coronavirus behind us.

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