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Wooden satellites for sustainable space

Wooden satellites for sustainable space

The plan aims to generate biodegradable space waste.

Together, NASA and JAXA are trying to launch the first wooden satellite by next year. It does not burn or rot in the vacuum of space, but rather disintegrates completely when it returns to the atmosphere.

he is called lignosateThe size of a coffee cup and made of magnolia wood.

The experiments were conducted in 2022 aboard the International Space Station as part of the “LignoStella Space Wood Project” program by Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry Company. Scientists were able to test three different types of wood: magnolia, birch and cherry, which were displayed in space inside a module for 10 months.

“Despite the harsh environment of space involving large temperature differences, exposure to cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles, tests showed no degradation or deformation,” the researchers said.

Magnolia wood was chosen because it is more resistant during processing.

Using wood would also solve the problem of light pollution caused by light reflected from space debris. The minerals they are made of increase the brightness of the night sky by about 10 percent, hindering the observation of deep space phenomena.

Image credits: Kyoto University, c. Tobiyama

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