NASA to Work with Other Federal Agencies on COVID-19 Response

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In Addition to Telecommuting, NASA is Working on How to Help Other Agencies with the Federal COVID-19 Response.

Yesterday, March 25th, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, along with other agency officials, held a virtual town hall. The meeting took place with most agency employees working from home already. And of course, the topic at hand was the agency’s COVID-19 response. Though much of Bridenstine’s message focused on keeping NASA employees safe and reassuring them, he also reassured the nation. 

During the town hall, Bridenstine said that NASA is currently working with other federal agencies on how to best coordinate their COVID-19 response efforts. “Your agency, NASA,” Bridenstine said, “is involved in providing solution sets for the nation. And we will be more and more involved as days go on because we do have an extremely talented, very bright workforce and a lot of capabilities that can help.”

Coordinating Computing Power

In addition to some of the brightest minds in the country, NASA also hosts some of the “brightest” computers around. As such, this is one of the first ways in which NASA and other federal agencies are working together. On Monday, March 23rd, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy unveiled the COVID-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium. The consortium aims to pool computing resources from agencies around the nation to aid in coronavirus response plans. NASA, along with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and several other companies and universities provided the consortium with access to their supercomputers to that effect. 

Coordinating Brain Power

Beyond supercomputers, NASA also asked employees for their help and ideas in fighting the global crisis. Essentially, the agency will set up online areas for employees to contribute ideas, then they’ll sort through them and pursue the ones with merit. Some employees asked officials about NASA’s ability to help produce desperately needed ventilators for hospitals. According to James D. Polk, chief health and medical officer for NASA, the agency will most likely help private companies that are already manufacturing the ventilators. By using 3-D printing and other NASA tech, the agency can help current manufacturers keep up with demand. 

Above all, however, Bridenstine encouraged his employees to stay safe. “If you think something is unsafe, don’t do it,” the NASA Administrator said. “Your safety is my highest priority, and you’ve got my commitment to continue defending your decisions.”

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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