In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a pair of outspoken scientists reveal how warp drives—the show’s ubiquitous propulsion system used to get travelers around space—can be incredibly environmentally destructive. From then on, the characters take care to limit the damage of their spaceflights.
Could a similar scenario now play out in the real universe, minus the faster-than-light engines? Atmospheric scientist Christopher Maloney believes so. In a new study, he and his colleagues modeled how black carbon belched out by rocket launches around the world is likely to gradually warm parts of the middle atmosphere and deplete the ozone layer. They Wired - Science