Sending a wooden satellite into space might not sound like a great idea. Wood is not as strong as metal. According to an experiment conducted by scientists aboard the International Space Station (ISS), wood in space is surprising durable.
Japan first announced plans to make a satellite made of wood back in 2020. The reasoning behind the move comes down to the current space junk problem and the ongoing mass of satellites launching into space. Unfortunately, some agencies are not correctly preparing their satellites for the return to Earth’s atmosphere. This can lead to metal fragments flying through the air.
A wooden satellite could be the answer here, as wood would burn up in the atmosphere upon reentry. This means less junk reentering the atmosphere, lowering the risk of injuries to animals and human life when they inevitably fall back to the planet. experts warn about space debris .problems.
The ISS had to veer several times to avoid debris in the last few years. The feat is only going to get riskier as more space stations are launched into orbit, and satellites will inevitably be added.
A new wooden satellite will be built in partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and a team of Kyoto University researchers. The team already tested three different types of wood by exposing them to the harsh environment of space outside of the ISS. The researchers found that neither the solar particles nor the cosmic rays were able to affect the wood.
After 10 months in space, the wood was just fine, the researchers explained. This experiment has paved the way for the building of a satellite made of wood, which Gizmodo reports is nearly ready to launch. The performance of the wood satellite will prove its effectiveness as a material for satellites. If successful, though, we could see more wooden satellites lifting off in the future.
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