The European Space Agency has reduced the number of people ESA’s primary mission control centre in Germany. This has made the agency to put off four of its space missions into “safe configurations” due to coronavirus pandemic. The instruments on the space craft will be turned off and the vehicles will be unattended as they travel throughout the Solar System.
Rolf Densing, ESA’s director of operations said, “Our priority is the health of our workforce, and we will therefore reduce activity on some of our scientific missions, especially on interplanetary spacecraft, which currently require the highest number of personnel on site.”
The vehicles ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Mars Express orbiting Mars and taking measurements of the Red Planet’s atmosphere will also go off. Other missions that are going off are Cluster that studies particles coming from the Sun interact with our planet’s magnetic field and Solar Orbiter mission that studies Sun’s poles.
The agency heighten restrictions as various governments in Europe has implemented tighter restrictions. The personnel allowed at mission focus on ESA’s spacecraft throughout the Solar System. This include BepiColombo on its way to Mercury. Only a very small number of engineers are at work.
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