Scientists are preparing to launch a wooden satellite

It can be huge.

Wood look at it

In what could be a breakthrough for sustainability in the space economy, a team of scientists from Kyoto University and Japanese logging startup Sumitomo Forestry They said they showed The wood just might be the longest lasting material in orbit.

This project has been working for a while now. The partnership was first announced in 2020, and in March last year, the team teamed up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to send three species of wood to the International Space Station (ISS) for off-world testing of each type. . toughness.

“Wood’s ability to withstand simulated low Earth orbit — or low Earth orbit — conditions amazed us,” said Koji Murata, effort leader and researcher at Kyoto University. he said then. “We now want to see if we can accurately estimate the effects of the harsh low Earth orbit environment on organic matter.”

Once aboard the International Space Station, the samples were placed in JAXA’s Kibo module, where they remained for about ten months. And as of last week, the results are finally out — and it looks like it’s a hit.

As a result, according to the US pers conferenceScientists hope to launch the first inflatable wood satellite into orbit next year.

Magnolia, sweet thing

In terms of the winning wood species, magnolia was found to be the toughest, with scientists confirming that the wood had “no rot or deformation, such as cracking, bending, chipping, or surface damage” and almost no change in weight to the wood. returned samples, according to the release.

This was quite an impressive feat, considering the extreme temperatures and high levels of radiation characteristic of the Final Frontier.

Trees, please

From military applications to high-speed internet, society relies heavily on satellites. But for how much we depend on them, satellites pose a lot of real concern, both for Earth’s internal and external environment.

Like most spacecraft, when satellites die they often turn into expensive junk. And when dying satellites fall back into Earth’s atmosphere, they burn aluminum—another serious problem, given that high rates of aluminum burning can eventually lead to Creating a new hole in atmospheric ozone.

All in all, moving to a wooden satellite could be the best of both worlds solution to a growing satellite problem. Hopefully a Wooden space station beside.

More about wood: Scientists have officially launched a wooden satellite

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2023-05-20 21:48:42

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