This questions may seem naive, but, worth pondering:
As humans keep sending more and more missions to space (outside earth's system), the earth is being affected in the following ways:
- Earth is losing mass (though negligible, yet cumulative). The point to consider is that most space missions do not return physical matter back to earth and luckily we do not get hit by meteors, asteroids or comets; thus the matter lost may not be replenished.
- Space missions send out hard to find or extract, precious minerals/metals/fuel. Even if space debris falls to earth, mere rock is not the same as metals and other elements.
So the question, if we keep sending out space missions, will earth be impacted negatively?
Update: Many have pointed out that most missions end up in debris that falls back on Earth. I wish to place on record, that I am specifically pointing at non-LEO missions, such as the deep impact probe, Mars missions, Pluto missions etc., specifically in the future, when such missions will increase in frequency.
does that dust replenish the Gold, Platinum, Titanium, etc that we are sending out- partially, but way more of those materials end up useless in landfills than we ever send to space. We mine those minerals because there are concentrations, but most of it is in the core. In all of human history we've only mined about enough gold to cover a 100m square area 1.5ft thick, the gold in the core is enough to coat the entire planet. In 2026 we'll see if 16 Psyche really is a planetesimal with $10 quadrillion (1000 times the world GDP) in precious metals. $\endgroup$