Raumfahrt - As NASA and others launch more rockets, effects on Earth remain a mystery



The lagoons surrounding the space shuttle launch pads were filled with dead fish after most liftoffs during the 30-year program.

Sometimes, 100 fish were killed. Other times, 1,000. But the culprit was always the same: a cloud of acidic mist and dust that spread up to five miles around the pad, leaving deposits on nearby buildings and plants.

But the 135 launches, which began in 1981, also had effects more difficult to see. The solid rocket boosters sent hydrochloric acid and aluminum northward from the launch pad in a ball of flames; iron and zinc particles were measured at higher rates; increases in calcium, potassium and sodium were discovered in soil near the launch sites.


These impacts were detailed in a 2014 study of the program. But NASA still does not conduct general environmental studies on the impacts of space launches on the land, sea and air.