This is probably one of the least surprising announcements to come out of the coronavirus pandemic.
During a virtual meeting of the National Academies’ Space Studies Board, NASA’s associate administrator for science, Thomas Zurbuchen, made an announcement. He said there’s no way the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will meet its target launch date of March 2021.
Already on a tight timeline, work on the telescope has slowed during the pandemic.
The Coronavirus shutdown has given us an unprecedented opportunity to look at our civilization a little differently. We all have our own ground-level view of life during this pandemic, but our satellites are giving us another look at this Earthly pause on a grand scale. The latest view comes from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.
As the COVID-19 disease continues to wreak its viral havoc on the human population of Earth, governments around the world have closed their schools, shut down non-essential businesses, and told their citizens to stay at home as much as possible. In other words, there’s a lot less human activity on our planet, and it’s led to a detectable drop in seismic activity.
The pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus is creating all kinds of chaos for human society. But for the dear old Earth, and the humans and creatures that breathe its air, it’s a bit of a reprieve. Mirroring what happened in China during lock-down, Europe is now seeing the same drop in air pollution.