It’s unbelievable, but Nasa and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will soon launch one-of-a-kind wooden satellites into orbit. This would be the world’s first wooden satellite to be ever made.
The launch project is called LingoSat Mission. This mission aims to tackle the issue of space debris. The use of a renewable and biodegradable substance will reduce the pollution upon re-entry of spacecraft.
What is the LignoSat satellite?
The LignoSat satellite, named after the Latin word for wood, is a spacecraft with a cube shape and measuring approximately 10 centimetres in diameter. It weighs around 330 grams.
During its construction, the primary material chosen is treated Japanese magnolia wood. This specific wood was carefully selected due to its durability and lightness, which are crucial factors considering the challenging conditions of outer space.
Equipped with various sensors and instruments, the satellite’s purpose is to evaluate how wood performs in space and gather data regarding wood applications in future spacecraft.
The main objectives of these experiments include assessing wood conductivity, resistance to radiation and overall structural integrity.
Significance of Wooden Satellite
The LignoSat mission is essential for the first step to be taken on space debris, which has become a threat to active spaceships and future space explorations.
People have introduced thousands of satellites, in addition to rocket bodies and other debris, which are now a cloud of garbage floating in orbit, posing a danger to crucial facilities and interruptions to key services offered.
The use of wood in satellite manufacturing could be beneficial to the space sector in several different ways. In space, wood cannot burn or decay, but when it re-enters the atmosphere of the Earth, it will burn up into fine ashes. Being an ecological and safe material that can easily decompose makes wood perfect for this function.
“Despite being exposed to rapidly changing temperatures, intense cosmic ray radiation, and hazardous solar particle fluxes over a ten-month period as well as undergoing all these severe conditions that may cause decomposition or deformation such as cracking, swelling or warping, peeling or surface damage etc., test results demonstrated no signs of degradation.”