A group of scientists in Japan wants to place a wooden satellite in space by 2024. A high-durability wood was tested on the International Space Station (ISS) by Kyoto University and Sumitomo Forestry, a Japanese logging giant, to see if terrestrial materials could withstand the challenges of orbital life.
Their tests showed the wood went through minimal deterioration and kept up with great strength, the Independent reported.
After the wood samples were returned to Earth from the International Space Station by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, they were also subjected to a preliminary inspection, which included strength tests and analyses of crystal structures.
According to a recent statement from Kyoto University, tests did not find any changes in the samples, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage, despite being exposed to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles for ten months in space.
According to scientists, tests on the retrieved wood samples revealed that neither they nor their masses changed prior to or during space exposure.
The international research group has determined that Magnolia wood, or "Hoonoki" in Japanese, will most likely be used in the satellite LignoSat, which Nasa and Japan's space agency Jaxa plan to launch together in 2024.
According to the researchers, the workability, dimensional stability, and overall strength of Magnolia make it ideal for the mission.
In 2021, the head of the research effort, Koji Murata, stated, "Wood’s ability to withstand simulated low earth orbit – or LEO – conditions astounded us."
According to Dr. Murata, "We... want to see if we can accurately estimate the effects of the harsh LEO environment on organic materials."
When compared to complex alloys used in spacecraft, wood has a number of advantages, including being less harmful to the environment, being simpler to produce, and being able to be disposed of more effectively at the satellite's end of life.