Rome, May 27 – The commander of the International Space Station, an Air Force officer with 25 years of service, an expert astronaut with six space missions in his curriculum, may have had the same slip in two different TV programs, getting to the wrong month (and maybe even year) about the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic? Very difficult. Yet this is the explanation that Luca Parmitano has provided to quell controversy after reconstruction by Difesaonline, of the astronaut’s TV statements, which he said twice about to know already in November “of a probable pandemic infection”.
Luca Parmitano has intervened in two Rai broadcasts. TO Petroleum, on Rai Uno, on April 25th he said: “On board we have a daily connection with the terrestrial realities; we also have access to the internet; we can communicate with the control centers and as early as November, we had started following the first infections, initially only in Asian countries, then on my return the first infections in Europe “. Statements that Parmitano replies on May 9 at Tg2 Stories: “On the station we followed what was happening on Earth: even before my return from November we were aware of this probable pandemic infection and above all the gravity that was spreading like wildfire right in Europe shortly before my return ”.
Evidence on Covid-19 backdating
Statements that would be perfectly in line with the various “tests” that would backdate the outbreak of the epidemic in Asia (but perhaps also in Europe) already in October 2019. The reference is to information that US intelligence would have provided some governments well before January 2020 to medical studies that speak of Covid-19 in Italy as early as last October, shared considerations also by De Donno (“I think the first patients are from the end of September”) and the numerous testimonials from athletes about strange fevers and respiratory crises that would have hit them during and the return of the Wuhan Military Games (held between 18 and 27 October 2019).
It is clear that a backdating of the outbreak of the pandemic would have repercussions on the responsibilities of governments, including ours that despite already on January 5 he addressed an internal circular to regions and ministries on the first “44 cases of Wuhan” and on 20 January he worked on secret files that hypothesized even 800 thousand deaths in Italy, until 21 February he did not actually take any measures (simply declaring the state of state without giving too much prominence emergency on January 31).
Like Tagliariol, Parmitano hurries to deny
In short, the words of Parmitano would not be so incredible by putting together several pieces, perhaps they would be just inconvenient. And so as happened with the swordsman Tagliariol, that after claiming to have probably contracted the Covid-19 at the Wuhan Military Games it is hurried to deny, also AstroLuca immediately corrected the shot: “It was a slip. To err is human, and I am very sorry to see that in this case my slip has been exploited “. The reasons used by Parmitano to justify the slip are somewhat singular. The fault lies with the calendar: “On board the ISS we do not use the calendar, but the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC),” explains the astronaut. “The year starts with day 1 and ends with day 365, and events are run according to this schedule. Consequently it is possible to confuse one month with another since we never refer to it, but we use the UTC day ”.
The ESA tweet
– ESA_Italia (@ESA_Italia) May 25, 2020
The 3 justifications of Parmitano
Quite singular explanation. Primarily because it clashes with the constant “connection with terrestrial realities”, the control centers, the use of the internet, of which Parmitano himself speaks. It is difficult to hypothesize an estrangement such that the ISS commander can claim to have wronged not only the day, but the month. Then iCoordinated universal time (UTC) is nothing but calendar and time zone coinciding with the Greenwich meridian. So much so that the astronauts they also celebrate New Year’s in orbit without making a mistake. Cristoforetti also said she had celebrated the New Year three times during its 2015 mission on the International Station: at midnight according to the time zone of Moscow, at midnight of that of Central Europe and at midnight of the time of the ISS.
In short, the history of the slip does not convince too much. Parmitano like second reason uses the “confusion” of the speeches about the various crises inherent in the Earth. “I remember that around the end of the mission, we were talking to the crew about various crises going on on Earth. In rethinking the events around that time, I confused the different conversations, and in remembering the events I linked the first reports of contagion to a previous time context “. The third reason relates to the transparency of communications: “All of this is easily verifiable: Earth-edge-Earth communications are subject to the Freedom Of Information Act, a law that requires total transparency and that all communications are registered. It is not possible to receive confidential information “.
In short, Parmitano says: I made the wrong month of the calendar, I confused the conversations, there is no confidential information. Let’s say that if the patch is not worse than the hole, we are close. Last question regarding timing: Expedition 61 in which Parmitano took part began on 20 July 2019 and ended on 6 February 2020. Despite this, the crew appears to have been quarantined on their return. More the Italian astronaut went into voluntary isolation in his Houston home in Texas following the contagion containment rules.
Davide Di Stefano