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  • Writer's pictureAgrim Sharma

Growing space tourism intensifies climate damage

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

According to a study, several rocket launches are having a negative impact on the climate and are contributing to global warming.

According to a study, the recent race for space tourism by Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX with several rocket launches is having a negative impact on the climate and is contributing to global warming.

"Rocket launches are routinely compared to greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from the aircraft industry, which we demonstrate in our work is erroneous,"

Space Pollution

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed that black carbon (soot) particles emitted by rockets are almost 500 times more efficient at holding heat in the atmosphere than all other sources of soot combined (surface and aircraft) - resulting in an enhanced climate effect.

These data were then incorporated into a 3D atmospheric chemistry model to explore the impact on climate and the ozone layer. The team showed that warming due to soot is 3.9 mW m-2 from a decade of contemporary rockets, dominated by emissions from kerosene-fueled rockets. However, this more than doubles (7.9 mW m-2) after just three years of additional emissions from space tourism launches, due to the use of kerosene by SpaceX and hybrid synthetic rubber fuels by Virgin Galactic.

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