In addition to being a public health crisis, COVID-19 has also had a dramatic impact on the environment and the economy.
Three space agencies — NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) — are keeping track of how the novel coronavirus has altered the world environmentally and economically with the help of a new dashboard that was unveiled Thursday.
The COVID-19 Earth Observation Dashboard allows users to explore how the pandemic has impacted a range of things by looking at satellite imagery — such as airport and shipping traffic, a city’s night lights and agricultural production.
“The pandemic was not only leaving a staggering toll of human suffering. It was having a global impact that we could document from space,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a video released with the dashboard.
“Our three space agencies realized that if we could combine forces, we could bring a more powerful set of analytical tools to bear on this fast-moving crisis.”
In addition, the dashboard includes data on greenhouse gases, air quality and water quality.
Satellite imagery shows the number of cars being produced in China rising again in April after having fallen earlier in the pandemic. Previous observations showed dramatic declines in pollution and greenhouse gases as lockdowns took effect worldwide.