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Coronavirus pandemic's global impact seen from space in chilling satellite images

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The Coliseum in Rome is completely deserted in this satellite image from March 18, 2020.

The Coliseum in Rome is completely deserted in this satellite image from March 18, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Coliseum on Feb. 21, 2020.

The Coliseum on Feb. 21, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, on March 22, 2020.

The Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, on March 22, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, on March 11, 2020.

The Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, on March 11, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, on March 22, 2020.

Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, on March 22, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 18, 2019.

Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 18, 2019. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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St. Peter's Square in Rome, on March 18, 2020.

St. Peter's Square in Rome, on March 18, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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St. Peter's Square in Rome, on Feb. 21, 2020.

St. Peter's Square in Rome, on Feb. 21, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on March 18, 2020.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on March 18, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on Feb. 10, 2020.

The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on Feb. 10, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Great Gate at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on March 18, 2020.

The Great Gate at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on March 18, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Great Gate at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on Feb. 10, 2020.

The Great Gate at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, on Feb. 10, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

The global response to the novel coronavirus pandemic is so intense that it's visible from space.

As people around the world are staying at home and practicing "social distancing," satellites have captured incredible views of what used to be some of the most crowded places on Earth, which have now become desolate in the face of the coronavirus. 

From deserted airports and tourist destinations to empty highways and abandoned shopping malls, these images from Maxar's WorldView satellites offer an eerie glimpse of the large-scale effects of the global pandemic, which has turned even the most densely populated cities into ghost towns.

Related: Satellite track emissions drop over China, Italy from coronavirus
Updates:
The coronavirus pandemic impacts on space exploration

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A highway interchange in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 28, 2020.

A highway interchange in Los Angeles, California, on Jan. 28, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The same highway interchange in Los Angeles, California, on March 22, 2020.

The same highway interchange in Los Angeles, California, on March 22, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Golden Gate Bridge and Chrissy Park, San Francisco, on March 3, 2020.

The Golden Gate Bridge and Chrissy Park, San Francisco, on March 3, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Golden Gate Bridge and Chrissy Park, San Francisco, on March 16, 2020.

The Golden Gate Bridge and Chrissy Park, San Francisco, on March 16, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, on March 3, 2020.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, on March 3, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, on March 16, 2020.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, on March 16, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Interstate 405's interchange with I-105 in Los Angeles on Nov. 29, 2019.

Interstate 405's interchange with I-105 in Los Angeles on Nov. 29, 2019. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Interstate 405's interchange with I-105 in Los Angeles on March 22, 2020.

Interstate 405's interchange with I-105 in Los Angeles on March 22, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

While these images from space show how crowds and traffic have seemingly vanished from the face of the Earth, they also reveal several new structures popping up around the world: makeshift hospitals that are being built to deal with the influx of critically ill patients. 

Maxar's images show two "pop up" medical facilities that were built in Wuhan, China, where the novel coronavirus originated. The satellites also captured views of a coronavirus testing facility in Germany and a soccer stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil, that is being converted into a hospital.

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Huoshenshan Hospital's pop-up facility in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 21, 2020.

Huoshenshan Hospital's pop-up facility in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 21, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The site of Huoshenshan Hospital's pop-up facility before construction began.

The site of Huoshenshan Hospital's pop-up facility before construction began. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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The Leishenshan Hospital pop-up facility in Wuhan, China, is seen under construction on Jan. 29, 2020.

The Leishenshan Hospital pop-up facility in Wuhan, China, is seen under construction on Jan. 29, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Before the Leishenshan Hospital was built

Before the Leishenshan Hospital was built (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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A closeup of the Leishenshan Hospital under construction on Jan. 29, 2020.

A closeup of the Leishenshan Hospital under construction on Jan. 29, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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A closeup of the completed Leishenshan Hospital taken March 4, 2020.

A closeup of the completed Leishenshan Hospital taken March 4, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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A drive-through coronavirus testing area is set up at the Oktoberfest beer festival ground in Munich, on March 19, 2020.

A drive-through coronavirus testing area is set up at the Oktoberfest beer festival ground in Munich, on March 19, 2020. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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A closeup of the coronavirus testing facility in Munich.

A closeup of the coronavirus testing facility in Munich. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)
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Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is being converted to a hospital.

Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is being converted to a hospital. (Image credit: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies)

"Maxar is scanning our recent satellite imagery for the construction of medical facilities in response to the coronavirus. These seem to be popping up slowly at hospitals, in/around sports facilities and other places," Maxar officials said in a statement. "We expect to find more of these facilities being creating in the coming days/weeks."

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

 

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  • eagle6117
    I'm interested to see what effects the sudden drop in pollution will do to the ecosystem. You have to figure you'll see a bumper crop of insects or something like that. : )
    Reply