Space tourism could have big impact on climate

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Premier atterrisage public du vaisseau spatial de Virgin Glactic destiné à acceuillir des touristes spatiaux lors d’un vol pr!s de Las Cruces au Nouveau Mexique USa où un spatioport est en construction – 22 octobre 2010 © AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON

Space tourism could have major consequences for Earth’s climate. New computer simulations suggest soot emitted by the rockets could raise temperatures at the poles, significantly reducing seasonal ice cover there, but uncertainty remains about the assumptions used in the study.

In the next few years, space tourism companies hope to start routinely flying passengers on suborbital space flights. Now, Martin Ross of the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, California, and colleagues have performed the first detailed simulations of the flights’ effects on Earth’s climate.

New Scientist

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