Japanese Scientists Lead The Experimentation Of Building Wooden Satellites For A Sustainable Future In Space

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Japan will launch a wooden satellite into space by 2023 in order to study how the organic material will react outside our atmosphere.

By doing so, wooden satellites would be a safer alternative to harmful metal ones by cutting down on space junk that is currently orbiting earth in a significant amount. All the space junk will likely be a problem in the near future for spacefarers.

Kyoto University’s researchers and space experts, with a former Japanese astronaut among them are working side by side with the Sumitomo group. This company that has been in business for nearly 400 years are developing and testing several special kinds of wood that will most likely survive the harsh environment of space.

This new innovation also known as the LignoStella project explains the benefits of replacing the satellites with wood in this translated press release:

“Since wood transmits electromagnetic waves and geomagnetism, if the artificial satellite is made of wood, an antenna and attitude control device can be installed inside the satellite, and the satellite structure can be simplified. The wooden artificial satellites that enter the atmosphere after the operation is completed will be completely burned out. This will lead to the development of cleaner and environmentally friendly artificial satellites that do not generate minute substances (alumina particles) that can be a source of [air pollution] during combustion.”

Because these particles will be floating in the air for many years to come, researcher at the Kyoto University Space Research Unit and visitor to the International Space Station, Takao Doi founded a new field called “Basic Research on the Practicality of Wood Resources in Space,” because he worries that the space junk will have bad effects on life on earth.

Doi told BBC:

 “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years.”

At present, there is an estimation of 6,000 satellites orbiting the earth, and thousands more that will be launched in the near future, 1,000 of those from Elon Musk’s universal internet access program, Starlink.

The LignoStella project gives hope that scientists from Kyoto University whom are leading the research and development of unique building materials will succeed and can eventually create more sustainable societies in space.

For thousands of years, wood has been used in every way possible and so it may be appropriate to employ this versatile material in space as well.


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