Coronavirus outbreak has not just impacted human activities on the earth, but it has delayed a crucial space mission jointly organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency (ROSCOSMOS). As per credible reports, these space agencies have halted their ExoMars2020 mission dedicated to search alien life on the Red Planet.

Mars scanner
The analogue astronauts using the ScanMars radar in the Dhofar region, Oman during AMADEE-18OEWF – Austrian Space Forum

Launch postponed for two years, but why?

ESA and ROSCOSMOS have revealed that the launch has been delayed due to some issues with the electronics in the robot, and a hardware problem in the solar panel. Even though these issues can be solved in normal cases, but as the entire world is literally shutting down due to the coronavirus outbreak, the space agencies will be compelled to delay the mission at least for two years.

"The decision to postpone the launch of ExoMars 2020 for two years should be regarded as responsible and sensible. Obviously, it is disappointing that this mission – a joint one between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos – has been delayed.

Each of the hardware issues could be solved, as could problems with software – but in combination, there was too great a risk that the time remaining before the launch was too short to ensure full and thorough final testing. And then, on top of all this: the novel coronavirus," wrote Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences, The Open University in the Conversation.

Grady also added that restriction in travelling to different countries as a part of the mission is one of the crucial reasons that will delay the launch of the ExoMars2020 mission.

Elon Musk's new suggestion to combat coronavirus outbreak

In the meantime, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has suggested that Chloroquine could be one of the best medicines to treat COVID-19. In a recent tweet, Musk also shared a study report link that details the efficiency of Chloroquine against coronavirus infection.

It should be noted that Chloroquine has been in use since 1945, and it is being widely used to treat malaria by medical experts.