While scientists around the world are confined to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, NASA's Earth-observing satellites continue to orbit and send back images that reveal connections between the pandemic and environment.
"Satellites collect data all the time and don't require us to go out anywhere," said Hannah Kerner, an assistant research professor at the University of Maryland in the US.
Kerner is among eight researchers recently awarded a rapid-turnaround project grant, which supports investigators as they explore how COVID-19 lockdown measures are impacting the environment and how the environment can affect how the virus is spread.
The newest group of projects includes six that are looking to satellite images to help reveal how COVID-19 lockdown measures are impacting food security, fire ecology, urban surface heat, clouds and warming, air pollution and precipitation, water quality and aquatic ecosystems.
Two projects are exploring how the environment could be impacting how the virus is spread by monitoring dust and weather. NASA's Earth Science Division manages these projects that find new ways to use Earth-observing data to better understand regional-to-global environmental, economic, and societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.