Report from Washington, D.C.

Space Could Stop Epidemics

Written by: developer

Space Could Stop Epidemics One of two papers presented by Space Foundation Research Analyst Mariel John this month at the 60th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Daejeon, South Korea, examines the technical, programmatic, and political requirements for implementing an operational program to use remote sensing for disease prevention in Nigeria.

With a fast-growing economy and a population of more than 150 million, the West African country of Nigeria has unique challenges, but the benefit of space-based technology for addressing those challenges. Nigeria currently owns and operates its own remote sensing satellite and remote sensing center. Satellite remote sensing data can be used to identify conditions under which disease outbreaks are likely, with the goal of avoiding outbreaks.

This case study has shown that Nigeria could benefit from a remote-sensing based disease prediction system, and likely has the capability and political support to develop such a program. Although further research needs to be done to evaluate exact cost and schedule considerations, a preliminary examination suggests that it would be feasible and beneficial to develop such a system in Nigeria.

The primary policy implication is that Nigeria should do a more in-depth study of the costs and technical requirements of such a program, and begin initial efforts for development.

Hosted by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the IAC is a well-established and well-respected conference that attracts an average of 1,500 participants each year, including members of the global space industry, academic researchers, and students from around the world. The week-long event hosts more than 100 technical sessions, allowing attendees to gain knowledge about current space projects, programs, and related technologies. The theme for the Oct. 10-12, 2009, Congress is Space For Sustainable Peace and Progress

To see the full paper, click here.

This article is part of Space Watch: October 2009 (Volume: 8, Issue: 10).