Wooden satellites

Sustainable Japanese wooden satellite

Sustainable wooden satellites

 

Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry and Kyoto University have joined forces to reduce climate change caused by space junk.

Satellites are increasingly being used for communication, television, navigation and weather forecasting. There are currently nearly 6,000 satellites circling Earth, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Research firm Euroconsult estimates that 990 satellites will be launched every year this decade, which means that by 2028, there could be 15,000 satellites in orbit. A number that might even increase more as Amazon plans to send 3236 satellites into orbit to support their global internet network and Space X, which already has over 900 satellites in orbit, also plans to send thousands more.

About 60% of the current satellites are defunct (space junk). This space junk is becoming an increasing problem as more satellites are launched into the atmosphere. Space junk travels at an incredibly fast speed of more than 22,300 mph, so can have cause considerable damage to any object that it might hit. In 2006, a tiny piece of space junk collided with the International Space Station. Luckily it only took a chip out of the heavily reinforced window, but collisions like these are very dangerous to all traffic in space.

Space experts and researchers have been investigating different options to remove and reduce the space junk. One of these options might be a partly wooden satellite. Although broken wooden satellites can also cause serious damage when they collide with space traffic, at least it will be more environmental friendly to dispose of them after use. When current satellites re-enter Earth’s atmosphere their burning creates tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for decades. These particles reflect returning heat radiation from earth back into the atmosphere, causing the temperature on earth to rise.

Takao Doi, a Japanese professor at Kyoto University and former astronaut told the BBC that they are very concerned about the long term effect of all these alumina particles in the atmosphere. As an astronaut he visited the International Space Station in March 2008 and now he works together with Sumitomo Forestry on the development of a partly wooden satellite. Sumitomo Forestry is part of the Sumitomo Group, which was founded more than 400 years ago.

The idea behind the wooden satellite is the belief that wood does not interfere with electromagnetic waves or the Earth’s magnetic field. Thus, if antennae and control mechanisms are put inside a wooden box, it would not only reduce cost but would also allow a simpler structure. However, wood is not the ideal material in space. While it will not rot, it may not withstand the harsh condition of launch. Furthermore, wood contains organic compounds such as water that will evaporate in space, compromising its structural integrity.

The partnership between Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry has started research on tree growth and the use of wood materials in space. Next step will include experimenting with different types of wood in extreme environments on Earth. The challenge is to grow and develop wooden materials highly resistant to temperature changes and sunlight. But the team believes it can mitigate the risks. When they succeed their wooden satellites would burn up without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere or raining debris on the ground when they plunge back to Earth. The first trial is scheduled for 2023. 

How whales absorb CO2
Sustainability Blog How whales absorb CO2 How whales absorb CO2 and can slow down climate changeCan protecting whales be 'the next' carbon offset scheme? The world's largest animals are unusual good at taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and how they do this is likely going to surprise you.Whales,
Read more
DR Congo Rainforest communities
Sustainability Blog Communities in Congo Sustainable rainforest communities in DR Congo The Congo Rainforest Basin is part of some 314 million hectares (1.2 million sq miles) of primary rainforest – the oldest, densest and most ecologically significant kind. This rainforest plays a crucial role in the stability of the world's climate, and
Read more
Power of movement
Sustainability Blog The power of movement https://www.tourismvsclimatechange.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Movement-inspires.mp4The power of movement inspires The title of this short positive video about the First of January is actually “Movement Inspires”. It’s a great inspiring video about the importance of movement, movement from exercise and traveling, but also movement of the spirit and the soul.
Read more
Space travel to help society
Sustainability Blog Space Travel 18. Space traveling to explore new areas and development On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to set feet on the moon. What few people know is that they left a silicon chip with 73 goodwill messages
Read more
The sustainable Doughnut Economy
Sustainability Blog Doughnut Economy 17.5 The Doughnut EconomyA sustainable economy is a win, win for everyone. Therefore since April 2020 the city of Amsterdam is planning to introduce the so-called Economical Doughnut model into the management of its city. This diagram was developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth and looks like
Read more
Sustainable salaries
Sustainability Blog Sustainable salaries 17.3 Sustained salariesSome people believe that to fight poverty, everyone should earn the same comfortable salary. Recently this so-called ‘Universal Salary’ came back in the news again, as Spain wants to use it to fight the poverty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. I disagree with this
Read more
The danger of booking websites
Sustainability Blog Dangerous online platforms 14.6 The danger of bookings websites When bookings websites started in the 90s they provided a great tool for especially the lesser-known, not so well organized, and new businesses. Hotels without a (good) website, with a slow responding rate to reservations, or even not very good
Read more
Izhcayluma sustainable eco lodge
Sustainability Blog Izhcayluma 14.5 Izhcayluma Eco Lodge The Izhcayluma Lodge in Vilcabamba, Ecuador has come close to implementing many of the recommendations about sustainable tourism. The owners and employees seem to have found a good balance in sustainability and business, between foreign and national clients and between clients with more and
Read more
Safari wildlife tourism in Africa
Sustainability Blog Sustainable projects 14.4 Sustainable tourist projects A search online will provide you with hundreds of projects that call themselves sustainable. To know which projects are really sustainable will take proper research and will depend on which conditions you set before calling a project sustainable. Several international sustainability organizations together,
Read more

Copyright © 2020 Tourism vs Climate Change Powered by Fairtravel4u