With the next planned mission to space scheduled for April 9, NASA claims to has taken all the necessary measures to prevent the chances of coronavirus getting on International Space Station.
All the space agencies are currently focused on preventing the entry of all viruses, including COVID-19, onto the ISS.
Coronavirus Possibility in Space Next to Zero
A senior nurse at NASA, Raksana Batsmanova, clarifies that the enhanced security measures undertaken by the space agencies have diminished nearly all possibilities of novel coronavirus to infect the international space station.
"Taking into account the enhanced security measures, the chances for the coronavirus to get on the ISS are slim to none," she added.
Batsmanova explained that under normal situations, aside from the pandemic, astronauts and cosmonauts are sent into quarantine for a few weeks before flying on their space missions. In fact, everything to be sent to the ISS is disinfected using a rigorous process.
Extra safety measures
However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, stricter measures were followed. Preventive Measures Taken By the Space Agencies NASA already mandates that the astronauts must stay in quarantine for two weeks before being launched into space. This is done to ensure that there is no illness in incubation when they reach the orbiting ISS.
However, this period of quarantine was extended for the astronauts and cosmonauts scheduled to take off for their upcoming mission, including those who were working with them.
The procedure is deemed essential as the microgravity can impact the immune system, exposing them to the virus. Personal communication has also been limited and the number of teams working with the astronauts was also reduced.
Batsmanova explained that under no circumstances can the virus be allowed to enter ISS as the station has its own atmosphere and a closed-loop, not to mention that the crew is far away from the ground. Therefore, all the measures are being imposed to prevent that from happening.
NASA has also suspended all tours at the facilities where the astronauts are supposed to undergo training before their flight. The Houston-based space agency has also asked its staff to stay home if they are feeling sick.
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian space agency Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner launch aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. This will be the third spaceflight for Cassidy.
Globally, COVID-19 has already reported more than 755,000 cases and killed more than 35,000 according to a real-time tracker at the John Hopkins University.