The Generation’s Choice: Will Space Travel Save Us or Ruin the Earth?12th Sep 2021
Today we are witnessing the space race and an incredible leap in space travel and exploration. But as opposed to the 1960s, the race is not between nations. Instead, the key players are international corporations and the billionaires heading them.
Space Travel Race Leaders and Their Goals
Many people worship Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos, highly inspired by their achievements. Richard Branson, for example, is focused on space travel, and he has already tried a journey to the edge of space himself. Now the point when the paying customers will ride Unity 22 is much closer.
Elon Musk, in his turn, signs impressive contracts with NASA in compliance with which his SpaceX vehicles will bring astronauts to the Moon. Musk and Bezos are fascinated by the idea of making humankind interplanetary. When the time comes, and people will be forced to leave Earth, they want everything ready to transfer our civilisation to Mars or any other suitable place.
Branson’s idea of space travel seems less relevant for human survival. Yet, space tourism he strives for will be a perfect first step for ordinary people in the direction set by Musk and Bezos.
The Environmental Opposition
While the goal is somewhat positive, the methods have an army of opponents. Their point is that there is a devastating impact on the environment. According to Eloise Marais, an associate professor at University College in London, a single rocket launch produces up to 300 tons of carbon dioxide. The emissions stay in the upper atmosphere for about three years. Jessica Dallas, a New Zealand Space Agency senior advisor, adds that the most studied and immediate environmental impact of space launches is stratospheric ozone depletion. But that’s not all.
Society might keep arguing what is more important: avoiding environmental risks or taking them and moving forward. But Marais’ opinion stating that there should be international regulations around space travel emissions seems rather sensible.