Space junk is a growing concern. 60% of the 6,000 satellites orbiting Earth are defunct and they contributed to space junk. Space junk threatens space exploration as well as existing, still functioning satellites. With as many as 990 satellites expected to launched each year over the next decade, low Earth orbit is slowly but surely overcrowding.

Eventually, many satellites are going to be decommissioned and remain in space and thus, adding to the space junk. Understanding this inevitable, Sumitomo Forestry, together with Kyoto University, is developing the world’s first wooden satellite which they hope to introduce by 2023.

Sumitomo Forestry x Kyoto University Wooden Satellite
Image credit: Sumitomo Forestry via BBC.

Unlike metal and composite materials, wood satellites can disintegrate in space without becoming hazardous junk. This solution is passive, though. The debris will be around, but at least, it won’t become a hunk of junk that could damage other satellites and spaceships that may be passing through the orbit.

Back in 2011, designer Vaughan Ling already saw this problem and conceptualized a space garbage collector and in 2018, Airbus proposed using giant harpoon to take out space junk.

If these two are were to materialize, then perhaps wooden satellite won’t be needed. However, perhaps discovering a material that can biodegrade in vacuum environment may help (but is it even possible???).

Anywho, wooden satellite may be a quick (relatively speaking) and short term solution. It is definitely not be-all and end-all exposition, but it is a good start while somebody else is looking for a more comprehensive, long term solution.

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Featured photo by NASA on Unsplash.

Source: Inhabitat.

Published by Mike

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.