Do rockets blast away the ozone layer? Not yet…

Rocket exhaust
The dark exhaust seen streaming from the Merlin engines on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched last October contains black carbon, which chemists say may play a role in ozone-depleting chemistry. (SpaceX via YouTube)

Thanks to Blue Origin, SpaceX and other space ventures, the skies could well be filled with rockets in years to come. But what will that do to the environment?

The short answer is, not that much right now. But as experts look to the years ahead, the answer gets as hazy as the air after a Falcon Heavy launch.

“Ten years ago, the amount of emissions was not great,” said Martin Ross, an engineer at the Aerospace Corp. whose research focuses on the effects of space systems on the stratosphere. “Today, the effect is still small, but it’s growing.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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