Japan Developing Wooden Satellites to Cut Down on Space Trash

By: | December 30th, 2020


Did you know that even the tiniest piece of space debris orbiting at speed can pose a major threat? They can damage the ISS (International Space Station) and active satellites.

Due to the continuous launch of rockets and satellites, Low Earth orbit is becoming increasingly cluttered.

So, Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese startup is teaming up with Kyoto University to develop the world’s first wooden satellites. Unlike traditional artificial satellites, it will burn up upon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere without releasing harmful particles into the atmosphere. Japan plans to launch its first WOODEN satellite by 2023.

Kyoto University Professor Takao Doi explained, “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years,”

Doi added that “eventually it will affect the environment of the Earth.”

So, the researchers are now investigating how various types of wood could withstand the extreme conditions of outer space.

Wooden satellites are not only better for the environment, but they could also allow making simpler designs for making a craft’s outer shell. This is because wood allows electromagnetic signals to pass through easily.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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