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NASA, Int’l Counterparts Deploy GEOINT Sources for COVID-19 Research; Thomas Zurbuchen Quoted

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Thomas Zurbuchen
Thomas Zurbuchen NASA

NASA has partnered with its European and Japanese counterparts to leverage their respective geospatial intelligence resources to collect data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NASA said Thursday that the agency has teamed up with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to deploy Earth-observing satellites to document the pandemic’s potential long-term impacts as part of the initiative.

The three agencies also jointly developed the COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard to integrate data from multiple sources in an effort to provide a comprehensive picture of changes in air quality, shipping activity and agricultural production amid the health crisis.

According to NASA, the team used measurements of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide to visualize short-term changes in pollutant concentration.

“When we began to see from space how changing patterns of human activity caused by the pandemic were having a visible impact on the planet, we knew that if we combined resources, we could bring a powerful new analytical tool to bear on this fast-moving crisis,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for Science at NASA.

Zurbuchen’s comments come after NASA, JAXA and ESA formed a task force to support the effort in April 2020.