Scientists are preparing to launch the wooden satellite

This could be huge.

Wood look at that

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 say they showed That wood might just be a durable material in orbit.

This project has been in the works for a while now. The partnership was first announced in 2020, and in March of 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. Resilience.

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

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

As a result, according to A.S press releaseScientists hope to launch the first fully inflatable wooden satellite into orbit next year.

Magnolia, sweet thing

In terms of the winning type of wood, magnolia was found to be the most resilient, with scientists assuring that it had “no decay or deformations, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage” and almost no change in weight in the returned sample, according to to release.

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

Trees, please

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

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

Altogether, moving to wooden satellites could be the best of both worlds solution to the growing satellite problem. Fingers crossed that a Wooden space station next to.

More about wood: Scientists officially launch a wooden satellite

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