Japanese scientists intend to launch a wooden satellite in 2024. Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese logging giant, tested a high-durability wood aboard the ISS to explore if terrestrial materials might survive orbital life.
The Independent said that their testing indicated minimal wood degradation and high strength.
After Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata returned the wood samples from the International Space Station, they were tested for strength and crystal structure.
After 10 months in orbit, Kyoto University found no cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage in the samples.
Scientists found no mass change in the recovered wood samples before or after space exposure.
The worldwide research group expects Magnolia wood, or “Hoonoki” in Japanese, to be utilized in Nasa and Jaxa’s 2024 satellite LignoSat.
Magnolia’s workability, dimensional stability, and strength make it suitable for the purpose, experts say.
In 2021, study leader Koji Murata said, “Wood’s ability to withstand simulated low earth orbit – or LEO – conditions astounded us.”
Dr. Murata stated, “We…want to see if we can accurately estimate the effects of the harsh LEO environment on organic materials.”
Wood is more environmentally friendly, easier to make, and easier to dispose of than sophisticated metals used in spacecraft.