July 27, 2021

Japan is designing wooden satellites to chop space junk

To build what they believe will become the will become the globe’s first wood-based satellites by the year 2023, Kyoto University and a Japanese corporation has teamed up. It has begun analysis on tree development as well as the use of the wood components in space, Sumitomo Forestry stated. The collaboration would begin working in harsh conditions on Earth with multiple wood forms. If more satellites are tossed into the atmosphere, the space junk has become a growing concern. Without putting toxic chemicals into the air or wooden satellites could very well burn up, dumping debris on the ground as they plunge to Earth. 

“We are worried about the fact that if all satellites which re-enter the atmosphere of Earth burn and generate tiny alumina particles that remain floating in the upper atmosphere for several years,” Takai Doi, who serves at Kyoto University as a professor as well as a Japanese space explorer told BBC. “Ultimately, it is going to affect the Earth’s environment.” “The next phase will be constructing the satellite’s engineering model, as well as then we shall develop the flight model,” Professor Doi added. He toured the International Space Station as an explorer in March 2008. He was the first human to drop a boomerang into space throughout that project, which had been developed explicitly for use in microgravity.

Established over 400 years ago, Sumitomo Forestry, part of the Sumitomo Company, said it would focus on producing wooden materials that are highly resistant to temperature fluctuations as well as sunlight. The firm’s spokeswoman informed the BBC that the wood it uses is an “R&D secret.” Experts have cautioned that as more rockets and satellites are deployed, there is a growing danger of space junk dropping to Earth. Increasingly, satellites are used for Television, communication, navigation, and weather forecasts. Space experts and analysts have been researching various options for the disposal and elimination of space junk.

As per the World Economic Forum, about 6,000 satellites are orbiting Earth (WEF). Around 60% of them are inactive (space junk). Research Company Euroconsult predicts that this decade, 990 satellites will be deployed each year, suggesting that 15,000 satellites will be in space by 2028. SpaceX has already deployed over 900 Starlink satellites, and it intends to launch thousands more. At an exceptionally high speed of over 22,300 mph, space debris flies, so it can do serious harm to the objects it reaches. The International Space Station collided with a tiny bit of space debris in 2006, knocking a chip from a heavily reinforced window.