back to article Damn you, coronavirus. Damn you. Now you've gone too far: James Webb Space Telescope, Moon mission work paused

NASA has temporarily suspended operations for its James Webb Space Telescope – and halted testing of its Space Launch System, a rocket due to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024 – amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown measures are in place across California, as well various other US states and countries, and that’s …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Sad, but necessary

    The Moon will remain up there for a while, going there can wait, and isn't worth risking lives for (beyond the inherent risks of travelling through an environment that is trying to kill you, on top of a machine that could undergo a rapid, unplanned disassembly, resulting in something resembling the icon)

    1. I Am Spartacus

      Re: Sad, but necessary

      Whilst I agree the steps are necessary, and that the moon is likely to be up there for some time (assuming Seveneves was not a prophesy), there is a problem. The James Webb space telescope was already running behind schedule and is fighting to make a launch window. If it misses the window, I don't know when it will launch.

      If budget cuts happen (looks likely) then its just possible JWST could be another victim of COVID

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

      Sorry, but I am not likely to be following advice from an Anonymous Coward.

      Your advice might be good or it could be complete bollocks, but if you're not willing to put your name to it, then you're no different to the idiots claiming drinking bleach will cure Coronavirus (I guess technically it does, since you'll die from drinking bleach instead of potentially dying from Coronavirus, but its not quite the "cure" most people are looking for).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

        Your name is lglethal (how does a name help?) and you can verify everything I said in that post, independent of me.

        I recommend that you always verify anything someone says, independent of the original source.

        Does soap break up Covid? I'm sure you can find the answer independent of me.

        Does cutting two slits in a wet wipe make a face mask? Go get a wet wipe, scissors and try it.

        Is baby shampoo a mild soap?

        Does a humidifier spread soap? It even spreads cola, see Youtube for many examples, you know how to search you-tube right?

        You can whine, or you get off your lazy whiney ass and go verify.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

          Or you could do the decent thing and cite reputable sources...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

            Corona Virus has a lipid envelope:


            "coronaviruses and influenzaviruses have a lipid envelope (membrane) around the capsid (protein shell) and rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, do not. "

            It breaks down under soaps (surfactants):


            "So why does soap work so well on the Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus and indeed most viruses? The short story: because the virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren’t really alive."

            Corona virus is airborne:


            Humidifiers don't just put water into the air, they nebulize whatever the liquid is:


            The person replying to me did not respond to anything I said, instead they were trying to plant the idea that it was comparable to "drink bleach", then they debunked the "drink bleach" thing he just said. It's a rhetorical argument trick known as the "straw man" argument.

            I have him/you links, he did not read them. Wikipedia and the research paper on surfactants against virus. A troll making a straw man argument will never simply google or read any link I provide, and I cannot make them.

            Not only should you verify what I say independent of me, you should recognize and verify the straw man argument independent of the troll making it.

            1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

              Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

              Well done for citing sources. Minus double for having a go at Iglethal. You should have said thank you for pointing out how you could do better.

              Beth Mole has a Ph.D. in micro biology, contacts in more relevant fields, knows what questions to ask, what the answers mean and is skilled at conveying those answers clearly to the public. She has written a comprehensive guide to the coronavirus that I thoroughly recommend you read especially the section on face masks. In short, unless you are instructed to do so by a medical professional you should not wear a face mask. If you have received such advice you should be aware that they require skill to use. Newbies tend to fiddle with them - bringing contaminated hands next to their mouth and increasing their chance of getting ill. Surgical masks are to protect the patient from the surgeon. Masks - especially improvised ones - are germ factories.

              Above all else: please get advice from professionals not clueless commentards like me. If you pass on advice, show where you got it from so we know the source is not Andrew Wakefield or Mike Pence.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                No, Facemasks good, shortage of facemasks bad!

                @"Beth Mole has a Ph.D.....She has written a comprehensive guide to the coronavirus...In short, unless you are instructed to do so by a medical professional you should not wear a face mask."

                Your precis of her words are not her words. This is the first paragraph of what she wrote there:

                "Face masks are now in short supply globally, and prices have surged. This is making it difficult for healthcare workers to get the supplies they need to keep themselves safe so they can stay healthy, keep treating patients, and avoid spreading the infection. This tragic situation is exacerbating the outbreak."

                The shortage of facemasks in the west is a problem, but go read what I wrote.

                Here is how to make a face mask from a wet wipe. Which was the thing I told you. Such facemasks do not lessen the number of face masks available to nurses:


                Facemasks work, see image search "korean corona virus"? Do you see anyone (public or professional) without a facemask?


                "Above all else: please get advice from professionals not clueless commentards"


                You need to verify everything. I could simply have taken your selective quoting of Beth's word, and not bothered to go read what she wrote and I would have been misled.

                EVERYONE should verify EVERYTHING.

                1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                  Re: Facemasks work...

                  Facemasks work, see image search "korean corona virus"? Do you see anyone (public or professional) without a facemask?

                  Doesn't mean they work. Just means Korean culture tends to mean almost everyone wears a mask, thinking/believing it will help. The masks are more likely to stop the wearer spreading the virus, than they are to stop them catching it.

                  That said, if everyone wears a mask, properly i.e. no touching the face, no gapping, replace regularly and dispose of safely, spread is likely reduced. But everyone has to wear one, and do so correctly. Facemasks by themselves are not sufficient.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Face masks don't work?

                    "Doesn't mean they work. "

                    Why is there a shortage of facemasks for healthcare workers in the west if they don't work???

                    " if everyone wears a mask, properly"

                    How about if you just wear a facemask, even if its improvised? Even if its a wet wipe with slits for ears. You. Yes you, the person who is possible infected and doesn't know it, you Jimmy 2 Crows. How about you wear the mask and save a life?

                2. LucreLout Silver badge

                  Re: No, Facemasks good, shortage of facemasks bad!

                  EVERYONE should verify EVERYTHING.

                  This quickly becomes impossible. Lets say I verify what either of you say Dr Beth said. Ok, then I need to verify her facts, then whoever she is citing and so it goes.

                  Eventually you have to trust something - I'm not saying it should be some anonymous pleb off the internet, just that verifying everything doesn't work, even if time allows.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: No, Facemasks good, shortage of facemasks bad!

                    It's a quick google. What's impossible, I did it to every comment made to me here.

            2. Julz Silver badge

              Re: Humidifier+Baby Shampoo+Water

              That the virus (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted effectively via an airborne route has limited evidence. I think we should stick to the WHO advise that face masks for healthy people are not required.

              Feeding a troll I know, but ...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Shortage of masks not relevant

                Keep in mind the shortage of masks is not relevant to a comment explaining how to make a mask from a wet wipe. But lets go read the WHO advice.


                "Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks"

                "If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection. Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly."

                So WHO: "you only need", YOU: "do not unless"

                You have changed the emphasis on their words.

                You do not know if you have the disease and are asymptomatic and infectious and thus could not tell if you need a mask or not. This is why apparently healthy people are in quarantine too.

                The advice relating to the shortage of masks is irrelevant to a comment that explains how to make a mask from a wet wipe.

                Take a wet wipe, cut two slits down the sides where your ears go. Hook it over your ears. There, you have an ad-hoc wet wipe face mask that does not lessen the number of face masks available to nurses.

                The WHO advice is sound, you should also use soap too.

                Your skewing of WHO's careful wording to suit your agenda is not sound.

                "That the virus (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted effectively via an airborne route has limited evidence"

                Cover your mouth when you cough. The airborne vector is known, you are attempting to give misleading evidence.


                " This is airborne, corona is airborne, it's more contagious and you have seen how it went into 24 countries although it's a small number of cases."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's an easily learned lesson

    If anything its an easily learned lesson. The virus itself is easy to defeat, what's hard are the twats propagating it.

    Fox News spent weeks pretending it was all a hoax. A Democrat meme to make Trump's inaction look bad. But it's *their* viewer demographic that is dying from it. The older Americans that die the most from it are a Fox News staple. Fox News viewers, you're being trained to respond to dog whistles, "socialism", "antifa" etc. They blow the whistle and you jump up and do your trick. Nazi's are the good guys now, and health-care is what we fought against in WW2. 'Bail outs for billionaires' is capitalism, 'food for school kids' is the new Nazis. No, its a lie and Fox News is the liar. It's product is it viewer, trained-up and sold to its sponsors.

    TV Evangelists think its a great money making opportunity. Pray away the virus. If you die, well, you didn't donate enough! Ring now with your credit card details. No, its a lie, and they are the liar.

    Republicans are practicing their messaging for cancelling the elections. With Ohio Republican governor already cancelling one election, rather than running a postal only vote, or opening more voting stations spread out over longer voting time. No, they can run elections, its a lie and they are liars.

    Bill Barr is trying to remove the judicial branch completely. If he gets his way, he can arrest anyone, and they will never be allowed a court hearing because that would be 'Covid' risk. Even though hearings are done by video from the prison these days, somehow the virus transmits over the airwaves! Any bill to give the DOJ more powers, should require Bill Barr to step down and the DOJ to be run by a person chosen by Congress. You cannot give someone in defiance of the law, more power and expect him to suddenly obey the laws. He's already ignoring the judicial rulings and House subpoena powers, already undermining prosecutions. Bill Barr needs to go and rule-of-law needs to be put back into the DOJ.

    Mnuchin and the Fed are funneling free money to billionaires and investment banks to buy up temporarily distressed assets. As if the temporary stock market drop is the real problem! Those assets will bounce back when the problem is fixed, a massive transfer of value from poor to rich is bad. Mnuchin's shit needs to stop.

    So they don't test people in the USA, and as a result the Covid infections number is lower. That didn't help. It's an exponential growth curve, the shape of the curve cannot be hidden even if the relative scale can be reduced. You can see from the Italy vs USA curve shape, the USA hid the numbers. Executive branch staff needs to report to Congress, subpoena powers for Congress need to be restored. Oversight needs to be restored.

    When the vaccine is available can people afford it? Will it be a mass market cheap thing, or will it be a high priced, rich mans luxury?

    Will it be like Medicare? Available to the Republican voter demographic but not the rest? Medicare for some? Like the US has now?

    If the vaccine is available in Canada, but not USA, will Americans have to trek across the border to get it, because of the USA closed market with inflated pharma prices? Will Americans be allowed even to cross the border for vaccines or will that be made a crime too? Like buying drugs from Pharmacies across the border is now?

    The Koreans and Chinese have defeated it already. It's an easy lesson to learn!


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's an easily learned lesson

      Cool rant. Needs more SHOUTY CAPS. I give it a 6/10 for making some sense.

    2. oiseau Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's an easily learned lesson

      Cool rant.

      No, I do not see it as a rant.

      I think it is a well put and very clear description of the present situation in the US.

      10/10 for doing it.

      Thank you.


    3. tfb Silver badge

      Re: It's an easily learned lesson

      I agree with much of your comment – and in particular you are right about the massive fuckwittery and, in fact, evil behaviour by the some of the US administration.

      However you also say this:

      The virus itself is easy to defeat [... most of your comment elided ...] The Koreans and Chinese have defeated it already.

      And both of these statements are false and it's important that people understand that they are false.

      What the Koreans and Chinese have done is suppressed the virus: they've got the reproduction number, R, below 1 so that infections decline, asymptotically to zero. But they've done this by taking very extreme measures (probably measures which can't be taken in many countries). At some point they will need to stop these measures, and at that point R will increase above 1 and infections will return, unless everyone, everywhere in the world, has managed to suppress the virus for long enough that the virus dies out. That is extremely unlikely to happen.

      The 16th March Imperial paper describes this pretty well, and has really good graphs from the output of their model. It is kind of out of date now, as it's over a week old, but I'm not aware that anything they say is wrong. In particular, from the introduction to the paper:

      The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed. We show that intermittent social distancing – triggered by trends in disease surveillance – may allow interventions to be relaxed temporarily in relative short time windows, but measures will need to be reintroduced if or when case numbers rebound. Last, while experience in China and now South Korea show that suppression is possible in the short term, it remains to be seen whether it is possible long-term, and whether the social and economic costs of the interventions adopted thus far can be reduced.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's an easily learned lesson

        Not extreme, Koreans are wearing masks and testing like fuck. Wear masks. Test like fuck. I get that the West is short of masks, this is not true of the East. We have smog caused by crop burning. We have masks. They are easy to make. You can make masks. I even told you how to make a mask from a wet wipe. Stop the excuses. Make the mask, wear it. You are the risk now. Your whiny crap is deadly.

        I get that my comment was blocked by a moderator, so I say it again. Use soap, spray soap everywhere, wear the mask, make a mask from wet wipes if you need to. Do it. Stop expending effort explaining to me how you cannot do it. It's whiny crap, you can do it. So do it.

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: It's an easily learned lesson

          South Korea was testing 15,000-20,000 people a day on the 13th of March. On the 24th of March the UK had tested 90,436 people in total, and were testing at under a third the rate South Korea was ten days earlier. The UK has 1.5 times the population of South Korea. So, yes, testing in huge numbers.

          South Korea is also publishing the GPS coordinates of people who test positive: I suspect that might not go down too well in some countries.

          No-one (other than you) is talking about masks having made a difference there, that i I can see.

          And again: they have suppressed it, not fixed it: they have to keep on doing this until there is a vaccine.

          Well, I'm sorry, but I think you're a troll, a crank or both: I'm done here.

  4. HildyJ Silver badge

    What does any of this have to do with the article?

    I'm strongly suppressing the urge to rant in ALL CAPS.

    You can't work at home on many of the tasks required to launch a space craft.

    The space crafts will just have to wait.

    Unfortunate but unavoidable.

  5. Chris Coles

    Dr. Mercola's Coronavirus Resource Page

    This the coronavirus resource page that, personally, I trust above all others.

  6. hoola Bronze badge

    Bug checking

    This must give them the opportunity to review all that code again (and again). Run the simulations, find out what is broken so they don't have yet another issue due to some parameter being wrong or a piece of code not doing what is expected. Sure, they cannot do the physical stuff, although a load of that testing when you cannot get into the build might focus minds on what happens when it is at L2.

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