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Posted Thu Apr 16 2009: from National Geographic News:
Rocket Launches Damage Ozone Layer, Study Says
Plumes from rocket launches could be the world's next worrisome emissions, according to a new study that says solid-fuel rockets damage the ozone layer, allowing more harmful solar rays to reach Earth. Thanks to international laws, ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide have been slowly fading from the atmosphere. But when solid-fuel rockets launch, they release chlorine gas directly into the stratosphere, where the chlorine reacts with oxygen to form ozone-destroying chlorine oxides. Increased international space launches and the potential commercial space travel boom could mean that rockets will soon emerge as the worst offenders in terms of ozone depletion, according to the study, published in the March issue of the journal Astropolitics.
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