As Space Tourism Becomes A Reality, Increasing Space Junk May Become A Nightmare

by Tooba Shaikh
As Space Tourism Becomes A Reality, Increasing Space Junk May Become A Nightmare

Space tourism poses a thrilling prospect prima facie. The thought of getting to explore the final frontier, to witness the mysteries of the universe in person and not just through a screen is enough to get anybody dazed. This is until you actually sit and think about the implications of what going to space, commercially, would entail. Already, space pollution as a problem is only increasing. With space tourism on the horizon, we might just be on the precipice of turning the inky black space into another giant junkyard.

Space Tourism: Is It As Glamorous As It Sounds?

There are many concerns regarding space tourism and environmental and climate ones are at the forefront. Space pollution is already, quite literally, an astronomical concern. According to an article recently published by the Hindustan Times, a scientist has already named the problem. In 1978, Donald J Kessler, who worked at NASA, described the Kessler Syndrome, a scenario that might come to pass if space tourism increases.

It is when pollution in Low-Earth Orbit or LEO is so high that a collision with space debris could trigger a cascading effect resulting in even more space debris which, in turn, would increase the likelihood of future collisions. The article also mentions that since 1999, the International Space Station ISS has manoeuvered and repositioned itself around 32 times to avoid collisions with debris.

This goes to show that space pollution is not a trivial issue. Rocket fuel is also likely to increase climate-related issues. It was found that solid rocket boosters cause stratospheric depletion of the Ozone. Furthermore, space tourism will also exacerbate existing inequality as it is likely that only a select class of people, the uber-rich, will be able to afford this travel.

Also Read: Do You Want To Dine In Space? Well, This New Downtown Dubai Restaurant Surely Gives You The Feels

What Does Science Say About Putting People In Space?

Since technology today is so advanced, there aren’t many good arguments for putting people in space. At best, it can give us an accidental medical insight as to how the body works in space and what its impact can be. Most scientists agree that it is vastly a vanity project for corporations and governments to brag about.

There is a tendency in many first-world “environmentalists” to blame overpopulation and by extension, third-world countries, for climate change and consumption of resources. However, it has been found that the richest one per cent are emitting about 100 times more carbon emissions than the poorest ten per cent.

The number of people in a country, then, isn’t nearly as crucial for climate change as how the people of a country are consuming resources and disposing of their waste. Space tourism, though exciting and great for profit, might just end up costing us our planet. It shouldn’t happen that while we setting our sights on the stars, we lose sight of our only home planet.

Also Read: Gaganyaan: From Launch Date To Significance, All To Know About India’s 1st Human Space Mission

What are your thoughts on this? If space tourism were to become a reality, would you participate in it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Cover Image Credits: Canva Images

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