On a remote mountain in Hawaii, there's a fake planet Mars. Six volunteers are secluded in an imitation Mars habitat where they will work as imitation astronauts for one very real year. The goal: to help NASA understand what life might be like on the red planet—and plan for the day when the dress rehearsals are over, and we blast off for real. Host Lynn Levy has been chronicling this experiment from the moment the crew set foot in their habitat, communicating with them through audio diaries ...
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We are deviating from our flight plan – last episode I said we would be covering Ukraine Air flight 752 shot out of the air by Iranian missiles killing all 176 on board. However, there is now a major crisis that has thrown most aviation companies into chaos and its called the Coronavirus. The logic behind this series is to reflect on how crashes improve safety – in this case I will explain how the 2003 SARS virus has led to some improvements in how aviation authorities deal with an epidemic and a pandemic. There is now also growing concern about the role of aviation in facilitating the spread of the coronavirus which goes by the name of 2019-nCoV particularly since the World Health Organisation listed it as a global emergency in the last week of January 2020. I’ve decided to dedicate this episode to covering this story as it develops, as it is going to cause massive losses for airlines and may even change how we travel. By the end of January 43 airlines had cancelled some or all flights into China in response to the spread of the coronavirus. The United States State Department issued a warning to citizens not to travel to China, as consumers were already avoiding travel there even when flights were available. A study by the University of Florida in January 2020 found that 19 percent of Americans have already changed bookings on travel plans in the next three months because of the virus, and another 52 percent said they are now worried about international travel. By February 2020 most of the world’s main airlines have pulled the plug on direct flights to and from China. While the Beijing government desperately tries to cope with an outbreak of a highly infectious disease thought to be linked to one of it’s cities Wildlife market – the rest of the world is preparing for what could make the outbreak of the SARS virus in 2002/3 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) look like a walk in the park in comparison. There are two main reasons for this analysis. First, the coronavirus can remain hidden and yet carriers are infectious for up to two weeks when symptoms develop. That means no symptoms of the virus, which include high temperature, bronchial infections and other flu-like symptoms can be observed by airport temperature scanners while passengers are actually infecting other travelers. The second and extremely serious phenomenon which makes this different, is that there is now proof of human to human transmission.