Space waste is becoming a growing problem as more and more gadgets are thrown into the atmosphere. Today, nearly 6,000 satellites orbit the Earth and, according to the World Economic Forum, around the 60% of them are space debris.
The problem will get worse. Research firm Euroconsult estimates that 990 additional satellites will be launched each year this decade. If this is correct, there could be 15,000 satellites in orbit by 2028. And that’s a very conservative estimate given that only one project, Elon Musk’s Starlink Space Internet, has permission to launch. 12,000 units.
All the satellites that enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn out and create tiny particles of alumina that will float in the upper atmosphere for many years, ultimately affecting the earth’s environment. On the other hand, space debris travels at an incredibly fast speed of over 35,000 kilometers per hour, which can cause considerable damage to any object hit, including the ISS or space exploration devices.
Wooden satellites against space debris
Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry is working with researchers at Kyoto University to develop the world’s first wooden satellites. The general idea is that wooden satellites burn without releasing noxious substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they return to Earth.
At the moment, they are studying the growth of trees and the use of these types of materials in space. The association will begin to experiment with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth. The type of material is kept a secret, but they believe it will be very resistant to changes in temperature and sunlight. A wooden satellite engineering model will then be developed, and then a flight model will be created.
We will see the result. At least it’s an attempt. Satellites are increasingly used for communications, television, navigation or weather forecasting. Space experts have explored different options to clear and reduce space debris, as well as electronic debris, another major environmental problem, a huge cost to the global economy and the significant loss of critical resources such as earth metals. . rare, copper or gold.