The NASA team responsible for operating Curiosity is coordinating the rover deployed to explore Mars from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected more than two million people worldwide.
Like many workers in times of a pandemic, employees of the American space agency were forced to adapt their work routines and are now operating Curiosity from home.
Every action by Curiosity, which has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012, requires the collaboration of about twenty people, who develop and test the commands while talking to each other. Now, these conversations take place at a distance.
“We’re usually all in one room, sharing screens, images and data. People are talking in small groups and to each other from across the room,” said Alicia Allbaugh, who heads the Curiosity team, cited in a NASA statement.
The specialist also revealed that more time is needed to make a decision, since everyone works from their homes and needs to coordinate each step or command through messaging or video conferencing applications.
The leader of the group that coordinates these scientific investigations, Carrie Bridge, even confessed that she needs to constantly control about 15 chat channels. “You’re juggling more than you normally would,” she said.