Richard Branson on July 11 , Jeff Bezos today , what do these 15 minutes trip to space tell us? Is it the of start space tourism which is anticipated to be worth more than $100 Billion?
The world’s richest are making rockets and flying on it to space for 10-15 minutes to establish global dominance in space tourism and making a live example out of themselves to further boost their companies position in the race – Virgin Galactic , Blue Origin to name a few. This can be marked as the start of space tourism with recent data suggesting that over 39% of the world rich would take a space flight and spend over $250,000 for a trip to space.
But this space race has one major problem – CLIMATE IMPACT. Let’s be serious , we all know that carbon emission nowadays are breaking records and major climate change impacts can be in various parts of the world which can be anything from heat wave in Canada killing more than 500 people or the floods in Germany displacing entire towns – you name it! Just as the world is trying to find ways to curb the emissions – literally finding any area that can be utilized to fight climate change do we really need rockets which produce more carbon-dioxide per capita than any other thing and/or product there is.
Look , I am not saying space travel is bad , it is literally one of the first thing most of us as kids imagine doing in the future and we should reach for the stars but let’s be realistic and face the reality – Earth is not getting better with average global temperatures rising , ice-sheets melting , oceans on fire due to oil leaks so it is about time global companies came up and started taking responsibilities for their actions and act in a manner that good for not just the society but also for the planet as well.
Wealthy showing off their wealth just to go 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth is really the last thing we need right now if we are talking about saving the planet. It is anticipated that Virgin Galactic is planning more than 400 space flights each year , each of those flights will produce , more than 4-5 times nitrogen oxides than the largest thermal powerplant in UK – Drax and more than 50-100 CO2 emissions than an average long-haul flight. Multiply that with 400 and you will get yearly data for these emissions which needless to say is a lot , and that’s just one company. We already have three companies fighting for space tourism industry , 300-400 flights each year by all the companies , one can only imagine the impact on the climate and that too just for one year. Imagine 10 years of continuous flights – where would it lead us?
In the end I can only say that either we need find an alternate mode of fuel for these rockets – nuclear maybe or we need to ponder upon and think about our future course of action and where would it lead us and this planet as a whole.