Space Tourism May Warm Planet
Rockets send soot into stratosphere
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Oct 31, 2010 4:01 PM CDT
Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight2 with SpaceShip2 attached.   (AP Photo/ Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic)

(Newser) – Space tourism may sound, well, out-of-this-world, but there is a good chance it will pollute this world, possibly contributing to global warming. As firms like Boeing prepare to launch space tourism businesses, a new study warns that the soot emitted by commercial rockets may get stuck in the stratosphere, notes the Christian Science Monitor. With repeated launches, the concentration will build.

If demand for space trips grows as predicted, the climate effect could be similar to the impact of soot from all the trains, trucks, and heavy construction equipment in the world, say researchers. "What we want to do is understand this now so nobody makes big investments in systems that are not sustainable," one explains. Has anyone told Richard Branson? Click here to read about his space venture.