Sending a wooden satellite into space may not seem like a very good idea. After all, wood can’t be as strong as metal, can it? Wood is surprisingly strong in space, according to an experiment led by researchers on the International Space Station.
Japan first announced plans to build a wooden satellite as early as 2020. The reason for this move comes down to the ongoing problem of space debris and the constant mass of satellites being launched into space. The ascendant has to come down, and unfortunately many agencies misalign their satellites to reenter Earth’s atmosphere, causing dangerous pieces of metal to be launched into the sky.
The answer here might be a wooden satellite, because the wood will burn in the atmosphere upon entry. This means less garbage is released into the atmosphere and a reduced risk of injury to animals and human life when it inevitably falls back onto the planet. While the odds of no space remaining in orbit are slim, experts warn of the ongoing problem of space debris.
In recent years, the ISS has had to diverge several times to avoid space debris. This feat will only become more dangerous as others begin to launch space stations into orbit and inevitably new satellites join the fray.
The new wooden satellite is being built as part of a partnership between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and a group of researchers from Kyoto University. The team has already tested three different types of wood by exposing them to harsh space conditions outside the ISS. They found that the material was unaffected by surrounding cosmic rays or incoming solar particles.
After 10 months in space, the researchers explained that the wood was in fine condition. This experiment paved the way for the creation of a wooden satellite that is almost ready to launch, according to Gizmodo. Seeing how well the satellite performs will help prove or disprove the effectiveness of wood as a satellite material. But if successful, we may see more wooden satellites rise in the future.
Source: Port Altele
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