Despite the cost and limited availability of rocket fuel, Whitehorn claims that Virgin Galactic’s flights are actually eco-friendly. Instead of using ground-launching rocket technology, Virgin minimizes fuel use by releasing spaceships into sub-orbit using jet carrier aircraft. The company also uses non-metallic materials in its spacecraft that use less power than NASA space shuttles. And in any case, Whitehorn contends, “Polluting space is extremely difficult. ” A valid point, but depleting earth of non-renewable fuels for everyday trips into space is a real possibility.
Whitehorn does make one convincing argument: viewing our planet from space could be enough to transform even the most hard-hearted among us into environmentalists.