Kyoto University and a Japanese company are working together to develop World’s first wooden satellites that will help reduce space junk.
At present, the Japanese researchers are conducting experiments with different types of wooden materials to make satellites resistant to different temperature changes and sunlight. Thereafter, the researchers will develop the engineering model of the satellite and then the manufacturing process of the flight model will begin.
The researchers are of the opinion that if everything goes as per the plan, the first wooden satellite would be ready for launch by 2023.
Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University told the BBC that all the satellites that re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and produce small alumina particles, these particles float in the upper atmosphere for many years affecting the environment of the Earth.
Takao Doi also added that the wooden satellites would safely burn upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere without releasing harmful substances.
How many Satellites are currently there?
Currently, about 6,000 satellites are circling around Earth’s orbit out of which only about 40% are operational and about 60% are just space junk.
According to NASA over 500,000 pieces of space junk are tracked as they orbit the Earth
Scientists are worried about the Space junk as more and more satellites are launched into space. As and when these satellites reach their end, or, are no longer usable, they are either left in orbit or they are deorbited and burned up into the Earth’s atmosphere. But neither of these methods are effective for the disposal of these satellites.
When a satellite is left in the orbit, it further adds up to the thousands of pieces of space junk which is already present around the Earth. The space junk moves at a speed of over 22,300 mph and it can cause serious damages to other satellites and rockets in space.
Generally, space satellites are made up of aluminium because it is durable, lightweight and strong enough to resist extreme temperature and space radiation.
When a satellite is burned up into the Earth’s atmosphere, the aluminium used in satellites produces small particles of ‘alumina’ which can stay in the atmosphere for years and can damage the ozone layer.
Several researchers are already trying to find different options to cut down the space junk. Hope the launch of the environmental friendly wooden satellites would bring revolution in satellite designing and reduce the space junk.