PortandTerminal.com, April 17, 2020
Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut on Friday made a safe return from the International Space Station (ISS) to find the planet transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.
NUR-SULTAN, KAZAKHSTAN – Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka touched down in central Kazakhstan at 0516 GMT in the first returning mission since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March.
Morgan had been away the longest. He left Earth and arrived on the ISS since July 20, 2019, while Meir and Skripochka arrived in September.
The three astronauts have returned home to a planet in the grips of a pandemic. Upon touching down, they will rejoin a planet where over 2.2 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and almost 150 thousand people have died from it.
The two NASA astronauts will speak with family and friends in America, where all 50 of it states have declared a State of Emergency and are in lockdown. In Andrew Morgan’s home state of Pennsylvania, there are almost 28,000 cases of COVID-19 and 707 deaths. In Jessica Meir’s home state of Maine, things are better – there are just 633 infections and 19 deaths.
To get an appreciation of just how much the world has changed since July 20, 2019, when Andrew Morgan, the longest away from Earth, blasted off, let’s take a look at the news headlines on that day.
July 20, 2019
New York Times Headlines
Welcome back to Earth, Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka. You all look great. We suspect though you’ll find that we’re not quite as well.
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