10 March 2017
Steve Mustow, Director of Environment, WYG, considers whether space exploration and exploitation requires Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in his latest opinion piece.
The below is an extract of the summarised article that appears in the February 2017 edition of The Environmentalist magazine.
Sixty years after the Soviets blasted the pioneering Sputnik satellite into orbit around Earth, it is clear that humankind’s space mission is far from accomplished. If anything, it seems to be gathering pace as NASA’s Juno probe sends back information about Jupiter, the joint European and Russian ExoMars searches for evidence of life on Mars, and the European Space Agency digests the information about Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko courtesy of its Rosetta craft.
Amid this is a private sector that is increasingly attracted to the exploitation of space. SpaceX, the US aerospace manufacturer owned by business magnate Elon Musk, has completed several missions, among them sending a craft to resupply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The company is also working on a reusable launch system and recently announced its intent to develop interplanetary transport that could be used to colonise Mars within several decades.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has plans to develop spacecraft for suborbital and orbital missions, including for tourist spaceflights. Meanwhile, companies such as Moon Express, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are about to undertake exploration activities as a precursor to potential mining of the moon and asteroids.
Read the full article via Steve Mustow’s LinkedIn page.