The International Space Station will now welcome tourists

Signal of change / The International Space Station will now welcome tourists

By Jennifer Revell / 11 Jun 2019

From 2020, tourists will be able to visit Nasa’s International Space Station (ISS) from $35,000 USD per night.

The space agency announced that they will allow two private astronaut missions per year, each for up to 30 days. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing have been hired by Nasa to provide commercial space travel, these companies will be responsible for determining crew and ensuring that the private astronauts meet the medical and training requirements for space travel. Furthermore, they can charge their desired fee which is expected to be upwards of $60 million USD per flight.

 

So what?

Space tourism signifies huge steps in space exploration and has the potential to discover a plethora of things currently unknown to man. Yet, the introduction of this fuel-hungry industry could come with significant consequences.

The emissions produced by rockets and space travel are great. As the industry grows and becomes more affordable, the fuel needed for rockets and gasses emitted will grow more damaging to the atmosphere. Researchers found that the effect of soot, which is incompletely burned fuel, would be significantly larger than that of carbon dioxide emissions from the launches. Unlike planes, rockets expel soot in the stratosphere, where it can remain here for up to 10 years. Warming the stratosphere could strengthen currents that carry air from the equator to the poles.

Could stratospheric pollution soon become an urgent global issue?

Newer rockets use Kerosene burning engines, which expel less soot than older ones. However, Kerosene is still a fossil fuel that contributes to global heating. Are commercial space tourism companies considering their impact on climate change?

 

Sources

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-48560874

What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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