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Japan’s solution to space junk problem is wooden satellites that would burn up upon reentry


#Japanese researchers are working on satellite technology that would use wood components to eliminate excess space junk, allowing objects to burn up upon reentry to #Earth’s atmosphere, according to a new report.

#Sumitomo #Forestry, a 400-year-old #Japanese woodworking company, is partnering with #Kyoto #University to develop the technology, the BBC reported #Tuesday.

NASA estimated more than a decade ago that 95% of manmade objects in orbit were space junk. They come from defunct satellites, discarded rocket stages and other discarded mission materials.

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#Most of it is relatively small, according to the #European #Space #Agency. #Out of 128 million pieces of debris in orbit, only about 34,000 objects are larger than 10 cm. #But when larger objects collide, they produce many, many smaller ones. #And they can travel more than 20,000 mph, making even tiny particles dangerous.

There are also about 2,800 functioning satellites in orbit, according to the #Union of #Concerned #Scientists, which maintains a satellite database. #Governments and space-faring companies have plans to launch thousands more in the future.

#Experts are concerned that too much junk in orbit could complicate future launches, possibly narrowing the window of flightpaths. #Larger objects that fall out of orbit are also dangerous for life on the ground

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#Space junk threatens satellites and could be potentially lethal to astronauts. #Some launches from countries less concerned about safety protocols can send huge chunks of material hurtling back down to #Earth.

#In #May, a #Chinese rocket core rained down in pieces over #West #Africa. #If its reentry had been minutes earlier, it could have slammed into #New #York #City.

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#Wooden satellites would break up completely, rather than slamming back to the surface or leaving tiny metallic particles that could pierce spacesuits, solar panels or shuttles in the future.

“#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,” #Kyoto #University professor and #Japanese astronaut #Takao #Doi told the BBC. “#Eventually it will affect the environment of the #Earth.”

#In #October, two pieces of junk nearly collided 615 miles above the #Earth. #One was an inoperable #Russian satellite launched in 1989 and the other a #Chinese rocket stage from 2009.

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The objects passed within 39 feet of one another in a near miss, but a crash could have broken them into thousands of pieces then posed risks for more collisions with other objects.

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[ source link ]
https://www.foxnews.com/world/japans-space-junk-wooden-satellites

##Japans #solution #space #junk #problem #wooden #satellites #burn #reentry

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