There is no doubt that the Earth’s orbit is home to millions of dangerous objects, space debris that is not known how it will be possible to clean. However, there may now be a new approach to the construction of satellites and the materials to be used. According to a Japanese company and the University of Kyoto, it will be possible to develop what they hope to be the world’s first wooden satellites by 2023.
It is estimated that there are more than 128 million pieces of rubble smaller than 1 cm, 900,000 pieces of garbage from 1 to 10 cm and about 34,000 pieces larger than 10 cm in Earth’s orbit.
Wooden satellites could be a reality
As it was announced, the Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry has already started investigations on the growth of trees and the use of wood materials in space. The partnership will begin experimenting with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth.
Space junk is becoming an increasing problem as more satellites are launched into the atmosphere. Thus, wooden satellites would burn without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they returned to Earth.
We are very concerned that all satellites that re-enter the Earth's atmosphere burn and create tiny particles of alumina that will float in the upper atmosphere for many years.
Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University and a Japanese astronaut, told the BBC.
Designing more “environmentally friendly” wooden satellites
The next step will be to develop the engineering model of the satellite, then the flight model will be manufactured. As an astronaut, Takao Doi visited the International Space Station in March 2008. Then, during the mission, he became the first person to launch a boomerang into space that had been specifically designed for use in microgravity.
Sumitomo Forestry, part of the Sumitomo Group, founded more than 400 years ago, said it would work on the development of wood materials highly resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.
Experts have warned of the growing threat of space debris falling on Earth as more spacecraft and satellites are launched. Satellites are increasingly used for communication, television, navigation and weather. Space experts and researchers have studied different options for removing and reducing space debris.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), there are about 6,000 satellites orbiting the Earth. About 60% of them are extinct (space junk). In addition, it is estimated that 990 satellites will be launched every year in this decade. This means that by 2028, there may be 15,000 satellites in orbit.
As a curiosity, space debris travels at an incredibly fast speed of over 35,888 km / h. So, in the event of an impact, small debris can cause considerable damage. In 2006, a small piece of space debris collided with the International Space Station, causing damage to a heavily reinforced window.