How space tourism by private actors affects the Earth’s environment

Rocket launches into space by commercial companies such as Space X, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin can have a negative impact on the climate and the ozone layer, a new study has found. He also pointed out that routine launches “could undermine the progress made by the Montreal Protocol in reversing ozone layer depletion.”

The study was published by researchers from University College London (UCL), the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the journal ‘Earth’s Future’ on June 9, 2022. She pointed out that soot emissions from rocket launches are more capable of warming the atmosphere than other sources.

Researchers believe it is necessary to introduce environmental regulations to reduce climate damage from a rapidly growing industry. While in the 20th century, the United States and the USSR vied for dominance in space technologies, today private actors are participating in the commercial race for space.

As part of this initiative, private actors allow commoners to travel in space for recreational, leisure or professional purposes. The goal is to make space more accessible to those who are not astronauts, but wish to travel to space for non-scientific reasons.

The study found that gases and solid chemicals from rockets launched by private actors are emitted directly into the upper atmosphere. Commercial space tourism also poses risks of ozone depletion over the Arctic. The reason behind this is the pollution of the rocket as well as the heating and debris caused by the spacecraft while returning to earth. It also causes damage to the ozone layer, University College London (UCL) said in a press release.

“Soot particles from rocket launches have a much greater climate effect than aircraft and other land-based sources, so you don’t need to have as many rocket launches as international flights to have a similar impact. What we really need now is a discussion among experts on the best strategy to regulate this rapidly growing industry, Dr Eloise Marais, the co-author of the study said in a press release.

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