Full disclosure: This is a more cheeky article and something that is more lighthearted, considering all the news surrounding COVID-19 might not be the most positive. This is more a fun, lighthearted article for fun, and is NOT to be taken seriously. It is just a thought experiment.
Although these stay at home orders are not technically a full quarantine for the COVID-19, this can be seen as a type of quarantine. This is because the definition of quarantine “is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.”
This means that for the time being, until the stay at home orders cease, this can be seen as similar to a deep space mission in several ways. Now, to be clear, we are not saying that living in quarantine for a few days, or maybe weeks or months in 2020 is the SAME as in every way as a deep space mission. However, what we are saying is that there are some similarities. In no way are we saying that this scientifically accurate, nor are we doctors. However, we are simply performing a simple though experiment.
These similarities that we can see include housing, food, space, and exercise. All of these things have aspects of similarities between deep space missions to Mars and this situation. Although the stay-at-home orders should eventually be lifted as life returns to normal, there are more situations that one might initially think.
The reason this argument could be made is that when staying at home for months at a time, one has to deal with the same people for lengthy periods of time, just as one would on a space ship on a mission to Mars. Yes, there is more room in many apartments and houses than a spaceship, but the point is that one has to spend much time in an area of close contact with the same people. Like a mission to Mars or deep space, the only way to communicate with others would be to video or voice chat with the outside world. We understand that there is a huge difference in terms of being able to walk outside, but this is just a fun experiment. Moreover, there are also considerations of making food and eating with what food and cooking utensils already exist in the living space. That would be similar to a space ship that one has to eat and cook using what is already there. Moreover, excluding walking outside, exercising will require using what weights are already in the abode and doing exercises with the body. That would be similar to what space ship astronauts would have to experience.
Yes, there are significant differences between living on a space ship and being quarantined on Earth. But for those curious about what some of the psychological effects of a long distance space mission COULD be, this might give the public an idea of what it would be like.
For astronomy related activities to do during the COVID-19 quarantine, check out our recommendations. For information about how COVID-19 could affect the space industry, check out our article on the subject.