Explained: How space tourism will add to global warming

Billionaires Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are going all out to woo the super-rich for “paid trips to space.” Virgin Galactic’s Brandon and Amazon founder Bezos, fresh from their glamorous suborbital flights, are regaling the world with their dreams and plans. They have invested billions of dollars in their startups that aspire to take space enthusiasts to the ‘edge of space’ or between 50-100 km from Earth’s surface.

The space tourism market size could be around $3 billion per annum by 2030, estimates suggest. Virgin Galactic is expecting to offer 400 space flights per year.

It all seems very exciting.

However, one needs to pause and think about the environmental impact of private space tourism.

Aircraft fuel emits a variety of chemicals into the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, chlorine and other notorious greenhouse gases (GHGs). These adversely affect the atmosphere and damage its ability to shield harmful rays from the sun. The burning of fuels also generates…

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