Very soon, Japan may be producing the world's first ever wooden satellites which would fully burn up when they plunge back to Earth without releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere, as an effort to reduce space junk.
Sumitomo Forestry, a Japan-based wood processing company, said they have started their research on an ideal wood material for space and will carry out research in partnership with Kyoto University and test the material in extreme environments on earth. They also hinted that the satellite can be ready by 2023.
The partnership says the problem of space debris is eventually going to affect the environment of the earth. “We are very concerned with the fact that all the satellites which re-enter the Earth's atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years.”, Taka Doi, an astronaut and professor at Kyoto University said to BBC
The wooden satellites would burn up on re-entry without raining debris on the ground like traditional satellites
Space junk, often referred as space pollution, comprises human-generated objects, such as pieces of spacecraft, tiny flecks of paint from a spacecraft, parts of rockets, satellites that are no longer functional, or explosions of objects in orbit flying around in space at high speeds, according to Nasa.
As of October 2019, the US space surveillance network have reported that there are nearly 20,000 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth, including 2,218 operational satellites.