Coming to us from Japan, a satellite made of Magnolia wood.
A satellite made of wood could be launched into space in 2024.
The high durability of wood in space was recently tested and confirmed at the International Space Station (ISS) by an international group of scientists led by those from Kyoto University.
Their experiments showed wood samples tested at the ISS for durability underwent minimal deterioration and maintained good stability.
Preliminary inspection, including strength tests and crystal structural analyses, of the wood samples was also done once they were brought back to Earth from the ISS by Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
We all know (or bloody well should know) that the Mosquito bomber of WWII was made of plywood, and very successful as well.
It turns out from a quickie interwebz search that the Ranger moon probes of the 1960s had an "impact limiter sphere" made of plywood.
|The wooden sphere held by NASA Systems Design secretary Pat McKibben.|
They really knew how to do things back in the 1960s, eh? Get the fabulous secretary to pose with the exotic spacecraft part as if it was a Holly carburetor in a hot-rod magazine.
One of the reasons for trying to make spacecraft parts out of wood, mentioned in this article, is space junk. More specifically, powdered aluminum raining down on the Earth as satellites and rockets inevitably fall out of orbit and burn up in the atmosphere.
I must say that I don't really share the concerns of the people mentioned in the articles, but on the other hand we really don't know what the long-term effect of vaporized metals in the atmosphere will be. At a guess, it probably won't help anything.
Therefore, it couldn't hurt to make things out of wood, if this can be done. Using wood as an aerospace material also has the advantages of hugely reduced cost of materials, impressive strength-to-weight ratios, and ease of fabrication.
Something else to consider, for the future, is the possibility of deliberately growing trees and shrubs into desired shapes.
|Grown from a sapling, not bent.|
|Industrial scale version in pine, from Poland.|
This could be an exciting application of vat-grown vegetation, you put the shape you want into the tank as a form, and the wood grows into it.
Makes me wonder how vat-grown bone would do as a space material. You could probably get it to grow much faster than wood. Cows grow to full size in a couple of years, right?