Environmental concerns increase as space travel goes into orbit

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo uses some synthetic rubber as fuel and burns it with nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.

After years of waiting, this month’s trip to space on a Virgin Galactic ship was supposed to be a victorious homecoming. Instead, the excursion has raised serious criticism of carbon dioxide emissions.

Jeff Bezos will be launched on the Blue Origin rocket on July 20, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX is planning an all-private orbital mission in September. space The tourism industry finds itself facing a difficult question about it Environmental impact..

just now, Rocket launch Overall, it does not occur so often that it is significantly contaminated.

Carbon dioxide emissions Gavin Schmitt, NASA’s Chief Climate Advisor, told AFP.

However, some scientists are worried about the potential for long-term harm, especially the impact on the ozone layer of the upper atmosphere, which is not yet well understood, as the industry is ready for significant growth.

Virgin Galactic, accused of sending the founder of billionaire to space for a few minutes on a fossil-fuel-intensive spacecraft, said on CNN, Forbes and social media that its carbon emissions are about the same. I will. Business class tickets from London to New York.

The company said, “Already Test flight Looking for opportunities to offset future customer flight carbon emissions and reduce supply chain emissions Carbon footprint“I said in a statement to AFP.

However, transatlantic flights carry hundreds of people, but according to an analysis published at The Conversation by French astrophysicist Roland Lehoucq and his colleagues, virgin emissions per passenger in a six-passenger flight. It will be about 4.5 tons.

This is about the same as driving a typical car around the globe, more than double the individual annual carbon budget recommended to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

“The problem here is actually one of the imbalanced effects,” Darin Toohey, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado, told AFP.

“I actually Space plan So I became interested in science. But if someone offers me a free ride, I’m very nervous because I know my footprints are much bigger than they should be, “he said.

Cleaner fuel is possible

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo uses some synthetic rubber as fuel and burns it with nitrous oxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Fuel pump is black carbon In the upper stratosphere, 30-50 kilometers (18 to 30 miles) high.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, which burn as water vapor.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and burns them as water vapor.

Once there, these particles can have multiple effects, from reflecting sunlight to causing a nuclear winter effect to accelerating and depleting chemical reactions. ozone layer, Essential for protecting people from harmful radiation.

“We can be in a dangerous situation,” said Toohey, who wants a more scientific investigation into these effects before launches become more frequent.

Virgin says he wants to carry out 400 flights a year.

According to a recent paper by aerospace scientist Martin Ross, whose Bezos company connected to Twitter, Blue Origin is much cleaner than Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Spaceplane.

Because it burns Liquid hydrogen Liquid oxygen burns as water vapor.

According to Ross’s treatise, the Blue Origin vertical launch reusable rocket has one-hundredth of the ozone loss and one-750th of the climate forcing, according to Virgin calculations.

But that doesn’t mean it’s perfectly clean.

“Electricity is needed to make liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen,” Ross told AFP.

“I was able to go back and calculate how much electricity was used to make the propellant,” he said. “It depends on how far you go back in the supply chain.”

Shame on space?

The effects of ballistic launches such as Virgin and Blue Origin are inferior to those of rockets that achieve orbit.

SpaceX will use the Falcon 9 rocket when it launches four civilians into space in September. According to calculations, it is equivalent to 395 transatlantic flights. Carbon emissions..

“We are living in an era of climate change and it is not a good time to start increasing emissions as part of our tourism efforts,” said Annette Toivonen, author of the book Sustainable Space Tourism. Told AFP.

The world is now far more aware of the climate crisis than it was when these companies were founded in the early 2000s, and are looking at ways to minimize pollution through cleaner technology to anticipate the problem. It may encourage companies to do so.

“If you can’t tell someone you’re a space traveler, who wants to be a space traveler?” Insisted Toybonen, a lecturer at the Haga Helia University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

Branson tells mom about when she will be launched into Virgin Galactic space

© 2021 AFP

Quote: Https: //phys.org/news/2021-07-environmental-space-tourism.html When the space travel (July 18, 2021) acquired on July 18, 2021 begins, it will be sent to the environment. Concerns grow.

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