NASA halts work on Moon mission, due to coronavirus outbreak

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Among the missions affected is the James Webb Space Telescope, where work is now on hold, NASA officials said Friday (March 20).

Questions about NASA's reaction to the coronavirus pandemic reigned during a Science Mission Directorate computerized town corridor hung on Friday. "Many people have asked us about James Webb", he said, referring to the agency's over-budget and much-delayed massive space telescope project. Zurbuchen started his speech as follows: "What we're going to do now is to apply what I call the elephant principle: If there is an elephant in a room, we'll talk about it". It didn't take long before the coronavirus pandemic began to affect the space agency, with a small number of staff members falling ill with the COVID-19 disease and prompting the shutdown of various locations. "The improvements required for a mission to be considered successful can also be done remotely, but cannot be built remotely", he said in his speech. It has been postponed on various occasions, because of the multifaceted nature of the venture, and a report discharged in January of this current year evaluated a simply 12% possibility that the telescope would have the option to meet its dispatch date of November 2020.

He added: "We realize that there will be impacts on NASA missions, but as our teams work to analyze the bigger picture and reduce the risks, we understand that our top priority is health and safety of NASA personnel".

"NASA will temporarily suspend production and testing of the Orion space launch system and equipment". The instrument is now in California, the governor of which on Thursday (March 19) instituted mandatory restrictions keeping his residents in their homes for the foreseeable future except for essential errands.

NASA initiative recognized that prized science missions may endure delays and that the office was set up to make that exchange request to protect its workers. The main spacecraft is already in Florida, but prelaunch assembly is not yet completed and the rover's power supply has not yet arrived.


NASA will hopefully launch the Mars 2020 rover this year, depending on how the COVID-19 outbreak plays out, which will explore the Red Planet as preparation for humanity's arrival, which could happen in the next decade.

Beyond those two missions, Zurbuchen avoided discussing the impacts coronavirus response measures may have on specific projects, instead emphasizing that NASA decisions would respond to the pandemic as needed.

In an interview with CNN, he said: "It feels like we are on our own".

He additionally coordinated a couple of supportive gestures explicitly to graduate understudies and other early-vocation experts. We're all together on this and focused on turning out the opposite side as a more grounded network and one that isn't getting rid of our companions that we truly need to lead later on. "We're all affected by this, all of our missions are affected by this", Zurbuchen said.

NASA's many projects and programs require the work of countless staff members toiling away at a variety of facilities across the United States.

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