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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The perspective space provides is essential during these troubled times.

Why it matters: Astronauts live in isolation and look down on our planet with a view that can bring people out of their own experiences, especially during times of extreme and shocking change.

  • 43% of people surveyed as part of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index this week said their emotional and mental health has worsened lately.
"It can be nice to remember that there's a big wide universe out there and that we are not important to it. There's this great beauty in the world and in the universe that you can access even when things are terrible."
— Astronomer Katie Mack to Axios

As people around the U.S. are stuck in their homes, worrying about keeping their loved ones safe from the novel coronavirus and what tomorrow might bring, a little inspiration might do everyone some good.

  • So get outside and look up at the stars with your neighbors (staying at least six feet away from one another, of course).
  • Find out the current phase of the Moon and check it out when it rises above you.
  • Track the International Space Station or other satellites flying overhead.

What they're saying: Astronauts themselves also have some key advice for people attempting to make it through what could be months of isolation.

  • Scott Kelly — who spent nearly a year on the International Space Station — suggests that people working from home and quarantined need to follow a routine to try to foster a sense of normalcy under extraordinary circumstances.
  • "One of the side effects of seeing Earth from the perspective of space, at least for me, is feeling more compassion for others," Kelly wrote in the New York Times. "As helpless as we may feel stuck inside our homes, there are always things we can do."
  • NASA's Anne McClain detailed the space agency's five skills that keep isolated groups functioning in a healthy way, including good communication, self-care, leadership and team care.
  • Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield pointed out that if astronauts on the station — an extremely dangerous environment — can learn how to be productive under those conditions, people self-isolating on Earth can too.

The bottom line: During these anxiety-filled times, everyone deserves a break from the current moment, and space can provide a helpful perspective.

Go deeper: Astronomers capture Earth's atmosphere glowing from space

Go deeper

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
28 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

1 hour ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.