A group of scientists from Kyoto University has been diligently developing a wooden satellite, which is planned to be launched into space in collaboration with Japan’s JAXS space agency and NASA in the coming summer.
Although it may seem unconventional, wood has been found to be a surprisingly appropriate material for use in space. In space, wood does not burn or rot because there is no oxygen or living organisms present. It is approximately as light and durable as aluminum and can easily burn up in the atmosphere when no longer in use.
In summary, this idea offers an exciting solution to the issue of space junk by promoting sustainability and potentially saving money for space companies.
The LignoSat satellite is made from magnolia wood, which will be sent to space as part of JAXA’s J-Cube Program. The big-leaf magnolia, is also used in sword sheaths, since it is lightweight and not prone to chipping. It’s uniform material quality also holds up well during changes in temperature.
The objective is to observe the small satellite for a minimum of six months in order to study its reaction to drastic temperature fluctuations.
The researchers believe that wood could be a good option for spacecraft interiors as it is both environmentally friendly and could provide protection against harmful radiation for astronauts.
Reference- CNN, Interesting Engineering, Kyoto University Media Outreach, Asian News Network