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Japanese Scientists Launch Wooden Satellite with Kyoto University Collaboration


Japanese scientists from Kyoto University and the logging company Sumitomo Forestry collaborated to create an unusual satellite, namely wooden satellite. Made from magnolia wood which has passed tests carried out on the International Space Station (ISS).

In these trials, surprisingly this wooden satellite was very stable and resistant to cracking. Currently, the process is being completed to be ready for launch using a United States rocket this summer.

This wooden satellite is an alternative to the use of biodegradable materials to see if these materials can act as environmentally friendly materials, rather than the metal materials used to make satellites.


“All satellites that re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere will burn up and produce small aluminum particles, which will float in the upper atmosphere for years,” said the Japanese astronaut and space researcher at Kyoto University, quoted detikINET from The Guardian.

“In the end, this will have an impact on the environment,” continued Doi.

To address this problem, researchers in Kyoto created a project to evaluate types of wood to determine how well they would survive in space. In the first test, it was carried out in a laboratory in a space-like situation.

As a result, the wood samples found no changes in mass or signs of rot and damage. Project head Koji Murata was surprised by the results, because in fact magnolia wood was able to survive without any changes.

“The ability of the wood (magnolia) to survive in these conditions really surprised us,” explained Murata.

After this testing process, samples were sent to the ISS to undergo exposure tests for almost a year, before being brought back to Earth, and the results showed no significant changes to the wood. Murata attributed this phenomenon to the fact that there is no oxygen in space that can make wood burn and there are no living creatures that cause wood to rot.

Before using magnolia wood as satellite material, the researchers also tried using Japanese cherry wood. However, magnolia tree wood is still the strongest for use as a satellite.

“One of the missions of this satellite is to measure the deformation of wood structures in space. Wood is durable and stable in one direction, but susceptible to dimensional changes and cracking in the other direction,” continued Murata.

He added that a final decision still had to be made regarding the launch vehicle with options being narrowed down to a flight this summer using the Orbital Sciences Cygnus ship to the ISS or using the SpaceX Dragon.

If LignoSat performs well while operating in orbit, then the door will open to the use of wood as a construction material for more satellites like this. It is estimated that more than 2,000 spacecraft will be launched each year in the future and the aluminum deposited in the upper atmosphere as the spacecraft burns up when returning to Earth will cause major environmental problems.

Recent research conducted by scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada, revealed that aluminum re-entering satellites can cause thinning of the ozone layer which protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and also affects the amount of sunlight that travels through the atmosphere and reaches the ground.

But this shouldn’t be a problem with satellites made of wood like LignoSat. Which, if it burned up upon entering the atmosphere after completing its mission, would only produce a fine spray of degradable ash.

Watch the video “NASA and Japan plan to launch a satellite made of wood”
[Gambas:Video 20detik]


2024-02-22 04:30:20
#Japan #satellites #wood #strength #surprises

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