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Japan and NASA Plan to Launch World’s First Wooden Satellite

Japan and NASA Plan to Launch World’s First Wooden Satellite 


Marking a significant step towards eco-friendly space exploration, Japan and NASA are set to launch the world’s first wooden satellite, aptly named LignoSat. This ground breaking initiative aims to address the growing concerns of space debris and pave the way for a more sustainable future in orbit.

Traditional satellites, built with aluminum, release harmful particles when they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, potentially damaging the delicate ozone layer. LignoSat, however, will burn completely during re-entry, leaving no harmful trace behind.

Magnolia: The Wood of Choice

After extensive research, magnolia wood emerged as the ideal material for LignoSat. Kyoto University scientists conducted experiments by sending wood samples into space, where magnolia displayed exceptional workability, strength, and resilience in the harsh vacuum of low-Earth orbit.

Beyond its environmental advantages, LignoSat holds the potential to tackle the issue of space junk. Electromagnetic waves can easily pass through wood, allowing for the containment of instruments within the satellite’s structure. This eliminates the risk of instruments detaching and becoming debris, contributing to a cleaner and safer space environment.

With over 8,000 active satellites currently orbiting Earth, the issue of space pollution demands immediate attention. LignoSat represents a bold step towards a greener future for space exploration, paving the way for more sustainable and responsible orbital activities.

limate change is taking a mounting toll on Europe’s forests, as extreme heat and drought increase the risk of deadly wildfires. Nearly 900,000 hectares of EU land was burned in forest fires last year, an area roughly the size of Corsica.

The degradation of Europe’s forests spells trouble since their CO2-storing capacity is needed to meet climate targets and protect surrounding areas from flooding.

On Wednesday, the Commission proposed a law that would see Brussels collect forest data from the EU’s Copernicus Sentinel satellites. EU member states would also be obliged to gather ground measurements of trends including the areas available for logging, the volume of trees and the location of ancient forests.

“We need to see the trends, need to predict better, we need to see how they are responding to climate change,” EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius told Reuters.

“At this moment there are no comprehensive monitoring requirements to provide an overall picture of the state of our forests,” he said.

The new data will also help track other risks, like illegal logging, across national borders, Sinkevicius said.

The EU has clashed with countries including Poland over this issue. The European Court of Justice ruled in March that Poland’s policy of allowing logging during birds’ breeding seasons breached EU environment laws. The court also ruled in 2018 against Warsaw’s authorisation of logging in the ancient Bialowieza forest.

Campaign group Fern welcomed the EU proposal as “a potentially golden opportunity” to provide the data needed to protect Europe’s forests. However, the group said the law should go further and compel EU countries to then take action to improve forests’ health.

Brussels says forest data currently provided by member states has gaps and often long delays, hampering their ability to prepare for climate hazards.

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