The increase in reusable rocket space transportation from companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin is polluting the atmosphere like never before, according to a new study. The researchers assessed the potential impact that frequent commercial launches can have on atmospheric pollution.

Source: Everyday Astronaut/Youtube

According to the research, the increase in commercial rocket launches from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is creating exhaust gas that lingers in the sky. The exhaust fumes from the reusable rockets are creating significant heating and changing the composition of the atmosphere.

“We show that pollution from rockets should not be underestimated as frequent future rocket launches could have a significant cumulative effect on climate,” said co-author of the study, Ioannis Kokkinakis.

The researchers found that the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted as the rocket gains just 1 kilometer or 0.6 miles of altitude is the same that is contained in 26 cubic kilometers of atmospheric air at the same altitude. They also found the thermal nitrogen oxides that are produced from the rockets can climb to an altitude of 10 kilometers and can reach a concentration level that is dangerous to public health.

The researchers believe that these emissions are dangerous to the mesosphere, which is the third layer of the atmosphere on Earth. It extends up to 40 miles and contains a significant amount of the ozone in the atmosphere.

“Commercial space flights will continue to rise as reusable space vehicle technology allows space transportation at a low cost. This is also evident from the recent flights of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and the New Shepard space ships,” said Kokkinakis.

These emissions threaten wildlifeglobal warming, and even human existence. We need to move toward a sustainable and renewable future now more than ever. We need to take a slower approach to space studies and work towards more eco-friendly options instead of using the planet at our disposal whenever we please.

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