A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine in September looked into how space-based technology may be utilized to assist in managing and preventing outbreaks. As per Phil McAlister, NASA’s director of commercial space travel, astronauts frequently conduct medical studies in orbit to assist researchers in better understanding how human physiology responds to the various features of space. McAlister stated that during the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, civilians did a variety of experiments, including collecting blood in orbit and communicating the findings with scientists on Earth. “Space agencies also created telemedicine to offer treatment and evaluate the care of astronauts,” Said Dr. Farhan Asrar, a medical doctor and worldwide faculty member at the International Space University. Asrar contributed to the Nature Medicine write-up.
Dr. Asrar further pointed out that telemedicine may be utilized to remotely analyze and evaluate COVID victims without the danger of exposing healthcare staff. According to Asrar, Canadian astronauts have already employed wearable equipment to monitor many vital metrics of health, including blood pressure, temperatures, respiratory rates, and pulse rates, all of which were transmitted hundreds of miles from Earth onboard the International Space Station. According to the article, these wearable gadgets can be used by healthcare staff to assess whether symptoms are forming and increasing early on. As per the report, satellite photography might help with pandemic preparation and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.
According to the study, satellites flown into space have already assisted in tracking disease transmission during the Ebola virus outbreak. In the fight against polio, satellite photographs discovered previously undetected and neglected areas in Nigeria, contributing to elimination operations. “There are various characteristics that may be monitored using satellites,” Dr. Asrar explains. “We can monitor temperatures that are perfect for these infectious circumstances, so if a pandemic occurs, you can use this equipment to track its course,” Dr. Asrar mentions satellite surveillance of mosquitoes as a potential approach to anticipate malaria pandemics. The science of handling solitude is another aspect astronauts can teach us, according to the report.
Astronauts are frequently required to spend days or months in orbit with little or no communication with their loved ones. Similarly, social distance standards have discouraged individuals from meeting and rendered those with low connectivity as well as technical resources even more isolated, according to the report. Another study published in Nature in May 2020, discussed how astronauts dealt with solitude in space, such as maintaining a carefully regulated daily routine and planning their respective work-related tasks around an exciting mission. Both study findings imply that by knowing how astronauts deal with solitude, we might be in a better position to design methods/approaches to maintain our mental health throughout this or God forbid, any other pandemic.