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Space Tourism Could Cause ‘Astronomical Climate Damage’

At a glance

  • Rockets used for space tourism could potentially have a much bigger effect on the global climate than the operation of traditional aircraft.
  • Research team found that when rockets introduce soot — which is made up of black carbon particles — straight into the upper atmosphere, their heat retention is 500 times greater than the total of all aircraft and surface soot sources, which leads to a much bigger effect on the climate, UCL 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,” said Associate Professor in Physical Geography at UCL Dr. Eloise Marais, who was co-author of the study.

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