Japanese experts intend to create satellites made from wood, which will help reduce the amount of space junk. Kyoto University staff are working with logging company Sumitomo Forestry to develop a wood-based material that will be immune to aggressive environmental factors such as temperature extremes and solar radiation by 2023.
According to researchers, some satellites returning to Earth leave aluminum particles in the upper atmosphere and therefore pollute it. Wooden satellites will burn without releasing any harmful substances and without filling the Earth with debris. The company will develop wood materials that are resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.
"We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth's atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years," said Takao Doi, a professor at Kyoto University and Japanese astronaut.
Scientists point out that wood does not block electromagnetic waves, which will allow antennas and radars to be hidden inside a wooden case. When it descends into the atmosphere, a satellite made of wood will completely burn up without leaving behind dangerous chemical elements, and without scattering debris over the surface of land and oceans.