The world is entering a new “space age” as launches from Space X and others are achieving amazing feats of technology.

While this brings amazing prospects of space exploration and even an eventual visit to Mars for humanity, it’s not all good news.

The uptick in space activity has brought the issue of “space junk” to the forefront.

While there may not be much of an “environment” to pollute in space, it can become an issue of safety to future launches as satellite and rocket debris continually orbit Earth without easily burning up. This junk could eventually start falling on Earth, which raises safety and pollution concerns.

That’s why Sumitomo Forestry in Japan is planning to experiment with wooden satellites in what they call “extreme environments.” If aspects of our space exploration can be made of wood rather than metal, they say, the materials can simply burn up in the atmosphere once they have exhausted their usefulness.

The type of wood they have in mind, as well as how they plan on even getting such a satellite into orbit in the first place, has not yet been revealed.

According to the BBC:

Sumitomo Forestry, part of the Sumitomo Group, which was founded more than 400 years ago, said it would work on developing wooden materials highly resistant to temperature changes and sunlight.

The wood it is using is an ‘R&D secret’ a spokesman for the company told the BBC.”

BBC continued to report that:

There are nearly 6,000 satellites circling Earth, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). About 60% of them are defunct (space junk).

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.”

To read the full story by the BBC, click here.


  • Adam Houser

    Adam Houser coordinates student leaders as National Director of CFACT's collegians program and writes on issues of climate and energy.