Feb 14 2017

KSC Shutdown Due to Health Concerns

The Disease Management Organization has concluded its analysis of the air samples, blood samples and surface samples it has taken from KSC and its employees over this past week. It looks like a normally harmless bacteria has mutated slightly in the generations since kerbals have lived on the surface and has been infecting kerbs here at KSC over the past few weeks. On its own, it causes minor symptoms from coughing to shortness of breath to dizziness and several kerbs have been struck by it lately but none were incapacitated enough to actually check in to the medical center. Recently however trees from the Grasslands to the west have been releasing a large amount of pollen into the air, and kerbs spending more time out west in the Grasslands (field researchers, mostly) were the first to become affected, as the pollen brought about a mild allergic reaction in almost everyone that then allowed the bacterial infection to also grow more serious as the body defended from attacks on two fronts. The entire of KSC was affected after a large wind storm passed through the area, stripping large amounts of pollen from trees and depositing it over KSC.

It’s actually not so surprising that we might encounter diseases on the surface that are slightly or even extremely mutated from pathogens that were encountered in the past when surface living was more widespread. Given that the Kerbal Space Center is the one location on the surface were kerbs have lived above ground for an extended period of time, if any sort of epidemic were to happen it would happen here. The tree pollen especially is something that kerbals haven’t had to deal with for a few generations – underground there are moss spores but no trees.

The bacterial infection that began this whole ordeal needs to be purged from the KSC – surface swabs have found colonies growing in various places around the campus and the entire facility will need to be decontaminated. The DMO expects this to take a week at least, so we will be moving all staff to a quarantine facility in Umbarg City where everyone will be checked over and cleared of bacterial infection while the KSC itself is also cleaned. We hope to be back at KSC by Feb 27th.

All of our sick are being treated for the bacterial infection and are recovering well. We did have one death of an elderly staff member but an autopsy has since shown it to be from natural causes and not directly related to the bacterial infection.

Moving forward once operations resume, we will be setting up better medical protocols for field researchers returning from science expeditions as well as for UTV teams returning from balloon launches. Air quality monitors will let us know when pollen levels become high enough to cause problems. Living on the surface certainly brings back old challenges, but we’re working to adapt once more.

The full timeline of events can be viewed below, and will be updating until we return to KSC.