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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.