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Japan constructs world's 1st wooden satellite

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Wood, aren't we need to reserve our forest by saving all the trees?

-35 ( +6 / -41 )

Let's call it "Icarus "

-4 ( +13 / -17 )

… a frame partially constructed from aluminum.

It is built based on a traditional Japanese technique that does not use any screws or adhesive materials.

I see plenty of metal screws in the photo shown above.

Using the below BBC article, I gather this photo is of the satellite during prototype testing, whereas the final probe would have only the aluminum frame.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/68330304

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Wooden satellites are seen as better for the environment when burning up upon reentering the Earth's atmosphere at the end of their operation,

I've got to hand it to these guys, I never would have thought of this.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

This seems like a gimmick rather than anything practical. Like the stadiums with large wooden components. I guess it gives some Japanese a warm and fuzzy feeling, but there's a good reason why no one else does it: it requires frequent and costly maintenance.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

harnessing the environmental friendliness and low cost of wood

Iddeally the wood used was wood was ready to be recycled, perhaps from buildings that had been razed.

Also nice to think that a life cycle cost analysis had been done to see if this clever looking/sounding satellite provides environmental benefits in comparison with trafditional ones.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Also nice to think that a life cycle cost analysis had been done to see if this clever looking/sounding satellite provides environmental benefits in comparison with trafditional ones.

Unlike bauxite used to make aluminum or titanium ore, wood is a renewable resource. You can grow new magnolia trees pretty much indefinitely. Of secondary importance, wood burns up completely on re-entry into the atmosphere. You don't have to worry as much about large chunks of metal impacting the surface doing damage or possibly hurting people.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Credit due for thinking outside the "box".

Certainly some merits.

But the overall durability of a wooden structure in space is perhaps of paramount concern.

Scaled up to a large modern/future working satellite with large areas of exposed wood, the question is how long will it last?

Good that they are testing - that's what science is about, but I doubt if wood in it's current state ie unmodified, will fill a niche in the satellite market.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

browny1Today  08:50 am JST

But the overall durability of a wooden structure in space is perhaps of paramount concern.

Scaled up to a large modern/future working satellite with large areas of exposed wood, the question is how long will it last?

How long do you think wood lasts in an environment with no oxygen, no wind, no water no life forms, all the things that cause wood to wear and rot on Earth?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Great but given the total amount of materials used to construct a 10 cm cube is not any significant amount.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

sakurasukiToday  07:00 am JST

Wood, aren't we need to reserve our forest by saving all the trees?

a 10cm cube ain't going to use many trees.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Well done...

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Wonder how long it would last with all that solar radiation and temperature extremes...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We already see sunken wooden ships preserving for centuries under water with low levels of oxygen. I'm curious how serviceable this is going to be given the conditions of space.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The reason was environmental friendliness? How about stopping the new space race for commercial purposes and concentrate on the environment here on Earth?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Scaled up to a large modern/future working satellite with large areas of exposed wood, the question is how long will it last?

Wood samples were exposed to open space in a test conducted at the ISS. Several different types of wood were left outside if you will for many months to see which kind of wood performed best. The scientists were surprised how well wood stood up.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Magnolia wood is very rugged, and stands up best, apparently. With thousands of aluminium satellites breaking up and showering alumina particles into the atmosphere, to potentially affect the weather for years to come, this sounds like a very good beginning.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Wonder how long it would last with all that solar radiation and temperature extremes...

"Wood doesn't burn or rot in the lifeless vacuum of space, but it will incinerate into a fine ash upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere — making it a surprisingly useful, biodegradable material for future satellites. After successfully testing their wood samples aboard the International Space Station (ISS) earlier this year, the scientists believe the test satellite is fit for launch."

"Three wood specimens were tested and showed no deformation after space exposure," the researchers said in a statement in May. "Despite the extreme environment of outer space involving significant temperature changes and exposure to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles for ten months, tests confirmed no decomposition or deformations, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage."

https://www.livescience.com/space/space-exploration/nasa-and-japan-to-launch-worlds-1st-wooden-satellite-as-soon-as-2024-why

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Nice to see someone’s PhD thesis take on a physical form even though it’s not got a shred of practical use. Something to put on KU’s website and an extra line in some academic’s bio. Bravo!!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Wood, aren't we need to reserve our forest by saving all the trees?

It is a renewable resource, bro.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Will the wood be guaranteed free of spores , microbes and bacteria before entering space ?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

In the event the wood absorbed foreign bacteria /microbes , spores etc in outer space the incineration of re- entry would not kill foreign life forms

Just a thought

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thanks to all for the responses to my query re woods durability in space.

My questioning was based on an image I had of cosmic radiation bombardment etc.

But on a quick check it seems like the research has been going along quite positively.

I was surprised that wood was first used in the NASA Ranger moon missions of the 1960s.

And even more surprised that the Chinese used wood - white oak - as a re-entry shield on satellites in the 1970s. It charred on re-entry thereby protecting the satellite.

So wood in space is not a new idea. Learn something everyday.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It sounds neat but its very hard to tell how useful this will actually be. The prototype satellite is extremely small, only 10 cubic centimetres so we are talking an extremely insignificant amount of material. Can they use this on larger satellites?

Also from the description we don't get a good idea of what proportion of the satellite is made of wood. It seems like its just part of the outer shell of it, while the rest is made up of metal and plastic like any other satellite. Without knowing more about how much of the material on regular, functioning satellites (which are much larger than this prototype) can be replaced by wood its hard to judge how effective it will be at addressing the environmental problems identified in the article.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"It is built based on a traditional Japanese technique that does not use any screws or adhesive materials."

Yeah... ummm... you can see at least 25 screws on the two faces shows to us in the photo alone.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Well, based on the picture it really isn't all that wooden.

Copper wires, plastic, metal, screws ...

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It looks like an old radio right out of the 1940s.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It is built based on a traditional Japanese technique that does not use any screws or adhesive materials.

Is it me only seeing more than 30 screws on this satellite?

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Seems as if not many people read either the article fully or others' comments before posting. Most of the answers to the repeating questions above have already been addressed. See Asiaman7's BBC link above, for example. (The photo above the article (with screws) is only an experimental prototype, not the finished article.)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

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TECH

Japan constructs world's 1st wooden satellite

I see wooden screws as well...or?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I see wooden screws as well...or?

Yes, the screws are made from wood. Also all the electronics it contains. Obviously.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I have a magnolia sapling in a pot. I know nothing about it as timber, but as a tree magnolias produce showy white flowers in spring. Like yoshino sakura, they bloom before they leaf out, so its quite striking. The Japanese name is "kobushi".

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

When will these be available in gatcha gatcha?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Better start with a wheel. lol

But fun aside, every bet that this is a complete lie and all decisive and functional parts are not wooden. That's clearly to see already from the photograph above.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

but there's a good reason why no one else does it: it requires frequent and costly maintenance.

In outer space?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Whether it's a prototype or not, the caption below the photo reads:

Photo shows "LignoSat," the world's first wooden satellite developed by scientists at Kyoto University and Tokyo-based wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co.  Image: KYODO

Nothing about a prototype.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

A laudable project. It may make a difference but unfortunately most of the components inside the satellite have to be made from metal or other materials due to their functionality. The waveguides, filters, antennas, multiplexers and such cannot be made of wood thus making it a solution that, while helpful, is limited in scope.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There have incidents of space junk falling to earth that caused alarm because enough entered the atmosphere that warnings were given because the junk was big enough to damage or kill. I doubt that bits of screws would make their way to earth and be a threat to life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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