Rocket launches are harming the environment like no other, according to research published in the journal Earth’s Future. Researchers from UCL, the University of Cambridge, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spearheaded the study (MIT).
The researchers said that they used a 3D model to investigate the impact of rocket launches and re-entry in 2019 and that the “impact of anticipated space tourism scenarios is based on the current billionaire space race.”
According to the study, the ozone depletion caused by rockets is now minor. However, the impact is predicted to be severe shortly from solid-fuel rockets. As per researchers, the rising pattern indicates that the highest stratospheric ozone layer in the Arctic may be depleted in the spring. The team attributes this to an increase in space tourism.
The scientists discovered that “black carbon (soot) particles generated by rockets are over 500 times more effective at storing heat in the atmosphere than all other sources of soot combined (surface and aviation) – leading it to an amplified climatic effect” throughout their investigation.
The team gathered information on rocket launches that occurred in 2019. The chemicals utilized in all 103 launches were investigated, as well as data on reusable rockets and space trash re-entry. Recent demonstrations by space tourism businesses such as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX were also considered.
Highlight the soot particles, Dr. Eloise Marais, the co-author of the study, said, “Soot particles from rocket launches have a much larger climate effect than aircraft and other Earth-bound sources, so there doesn’t need to be as many rocket launches as international flights to have a similar impact.”
Marais went on to say that experts should debate the appropriate technique for governing this fast-rising business.
“This study allows us to start the new era of space tourism with our eyes wide open to the possible repercussions,” said Dr. Robert Ryan, who is also a part of the study.