In recent years, space exploration has drawn increased attention and its potential impacts on the climate and much more can’t be ignored.
The recent space tourism competition between Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX is negatively affecting the environment and hastening global warming due to its frequent rocket launches. Black carbon particles released by rockets are nearly 500 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere. The trapped heat, as you know, leads to global warming.
A hybrid engine powers the spacecraft used by Branson’s Virgin Galactic. These engines produce a lot of soot as they burn rubber and other fuels.
An hour-and-a-half-long space tourism flight produces the same amount of pollution as a 10-hour transatlantic flight.
Given Virgin Galactic’s plans to fly guests numerous times each day, this is cause for concern. A recent study found that although currently the space tourism only contributes 0.02% of world black carbon emissions. But, after three years of more than once-daily rocket launches, it would be responsible for 6% of warming.
India in space tourism
Through ISRO’s Gaganyaan program, India is also set into enter space tourism realm.
Gaganyaan is India’s first human mission to space. If this is successful, it will definitely open more avenues in the aeronautics.
Not just this, ISRO is a prominent name in the space research. They have produced some cost-effective alternatives in context to space travel.
Space tourism will be a manner to show off the wealth for some, and for some it’ll be an speculate to cheer for. Somewhat like in the Gladiator movie. There are researches to
But, why isn’t space tourism a great or even a good idea?
What does it do the environment, and should this even be our priority as a human community.
Impact on Ozone Layer
At the moment, there is now little overall ozone loss from rockets. Although, the current growth trends in space tourism point to the possibility of future ozone depletion in the Arctic in the spring. This is due to the fact that stratospheric ozone is particularly vulnerable to contaminants from solid-fuel rockets, re-entry heating from spacecraft that are returning, and debris.
After the effective implementation of the Montreal Protocol, Ozone layer can rebound due to daily or weekly rocket launches for space tourism can jeopardise the Ozone layer.
The Montreal Protocol, established in 1987, was adopted by several nations to protect the Earth’s Ozone layers. The nations were advised to regulate the production and consumption of the regulating nearly 100 chemicals. These chemicals were called ODS a.k.a. Ozone Depleting Substances.
It is the first convention to be universally ratified by every nation in the world and is regarded as one of the most effective environmental measures on a global scale. Without this deal, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ozone depletion would have grown by more than ten times by 2050 compared to current levels.
All space debris that comes from Earth-launched objects and is kept in orbit until it re-enters the atmosphere. Some objects can return quickly in lower orbits of a few hundred kilometres. After a few years, they frequently re-enter the atmosphere and, for the most part, burn up, preventing them from reaching the ground. But at greater altitudes of 36,000 km, where communications and weather satellites are frequently deployed in geostationary orbits, trash or satellites left behind can continue to circle the Earth for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Space Tourism will also significantly increase the space junk emitted. This is something that still hasn’t been addressed by companies vouching for space tourism yet.
The climate impact of the space travel or space tourism is well-known. The article briefly mentions the same as well. How important these space travels, or tourism are is a question of conscious then anything else.
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