NASA, ESA and JAXA want to figure out COVID-19's environmental effects

·Associate Editor
·1 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works, and large-scale lockdowns, the shift to work-from-home arrangements, as well as the increase in medical waste would have corresponding effects on the environment. Now, NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are hosting a hackathon to figure out what those environmental effects are, exactly. From June 23rd to the 29th, the space agencies will hold the week-long virtual event, wherein participants will have to use data from the Earth Observation Dashboard.

The agencies launched the dashboard a year ago, providing policymakers and the public with combined data from their Earth-observing satellites. Their aim was to give people access to a tool to be able to study the "short- and long-term impacts of pandemic-related restrictions implemented around the world." During the hackathon, coders, scientists and everyone else who wants to participate will have to form virtual teams and solve one of several challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The challenges participants have to solve will fall under these categories: Air quality, Water quality, Economic impact, Agricultural impact, Greenhouse gas, Interconnected Earth system impact and Social impact. They'll get the chance to interact with scientists from the agencies in official chat channels, and winning teams can incorporate the solutions they conjure into the dashboard to make it better for parties depending on it for data. Those interested can now register to participate, while everyone else will likely hear about the results and the solutions the teams come up with after the event.