The Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry has started working with Kyoto University on a surprising goal, they are developing wooden satellites to send into orbit by 2023.
The unique project would provide a potential solution (at least partial) to the problem of space debris: more and more satellites are being launched into the atmosphere, and using wood in much of the satellite would alleviate the problems that these satellites pose for the future.
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Japan is developing wooden satellites to reduce space debris
Takao Doi, who was an astronaut and visited the International Space Station in 2008, knows what he is talking about. He is a professor at Kyoto University now and he states that: “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles.”
That can end up affecting the environment on Earth, noting also that space debris is becoming an increasingly important problem. This year we have seen numerous satellite launches, and networks like SpaceX’s Starlink. It already has raised questions in this and other respects.
Those responsible for this project believe that it is possible to launch satellites made of wood into space. Not an ordinary wood, but a special wood that is able to withstand the extreme temperatures of space and also solar radiation. In the wood they are working with, these scientists indicate, there is a “secret R&D” component that seems to be the key to success.
According to the World Economic Forum, there are about 6,000 satellites around the Earth, of which about 60% are no longer active. The consulting firm Euroconsult estimates that in this decade an average of 990 satellites will be put into orbit each year, which poses a certain dangerous situation for our planet. This is why Japan is developing wooden satellites to send into orbit by 2023.