NASA announced that it is funding four large-scale research projects that will study the impact of the new coronavirus on everything from the economy to air pollution, revealing the changes brought about by the lack of typical human activities. NASA describes these studies as “fast turnarounds” and will be supported by the agency’s Earth Science Rapid Response and New Research (RRRNES) program.
The new coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented and incredible changes to human activities. Many people around the world are still living in isolation at home or, in some cases, doing the necessary work. The decline in human activity has led to rapid changes in the earth in a very short period of time, including the reduction of air pollution, the emergence of wild animals in large cities, and the presence of large areas of mold growth in closed shops and cinemas.
NASA is supporting several research projects to help collect data on the impact of these widespread changes, which will explore air pollution, air quality, water quality, and night light pollution around the world.
Because many people stay at home, the traffic of cars all over the world has dropped dramatically. One of the NASA-funded research projects is to study this decline in air pollution in urban areas, particularly inconsistencies observed in U.S. cities. These data can be used to help improve public health.
In addition, NASA is funding projects to study how the decline in air pollution affects the Earth’s atmosphere and water quality. With nitrogen pollution in the atmosphere plummeting, researchers have a unique opportunity to see if this affects algae growth and oxygen supplies in coastal waters. Finally, a project will use satellites to monitor light pollution around the world to determine the effectiveness of different “home orders” and economic measures.