Believe it or not but in 2023 Japan plans to launch the world’s first satellite made out of wood. But why are they doing that? Well it seems like the objective here is to reduce space waste.
What are satellites made out of?
I bet you are thinking what satellites are currently made out of and the answer is plain and old Aluminium.
As titanium is harder to mine and fabricate most satellites are made of aluminium and its alloys because its lightweight, durable, and relatively cheap.
Satellites made of wood
Japan’s Sumitomo Forestry in partnership with Kyoto University is doing the research on this to make it happen. They are starting experimentation with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth to see how wooden satellites would hold up in space.
The idea is that having wooden satellites would save the environment. Currently space junk and waste is becoming a big problem because of aluminium and titanium based satellites and the problem is going to grow bigger and bigger.
“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,”Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University and Japanese astronaut, told the BBC
How is metal junk affecting space
Well if you have already watched Sandra Bullock’s Gravity you wouldn’t be asking this since space debris is one of the reason a whole space station is destroyed in that movie. But there are other challenges with space junk.
Experts have said that space junk might fall on Earth as more spacecraft and satellites are launched and we really don’t know what damage that might cause.
The World Economic Forum estimates that there are nearly 6,000 satellites circling Earth. About 60% of them are not functional anymore (space junk). Research firm Euroconsult estimates that 990 satellites will be launched every year this decade, which means that by 2028, there could be 15,000 satellites in orbit.
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