A wooden satellite: Japan develops a revolutionary model

The Japanese are working on a unique wooden satellite. This is to prevent the creation of space debris.

The Satellites form an important backbone of today’s digital civilization. Global data transmission, GPS signals, weather forecasts and much more would be unthinkable without the helpers in space. Unfortunately, they create a lot of space debris, which is becoming a growing problem for humanity. To prevent this, Japan now wants to build a unique wooden satellite.

A wooden satellite: is that even possible?

In cooperation with the University of Kyoto, a Japanese company is currently working on a satellite made of wood, which is to be made largely of wood. The wood processing company Sumitomo Forestry from Japan is currently investigating with scientists from Kyoto University to what extent wood can be used as a material in space.

Various types of wood are currently being examined for their resistance to extreme conditions on earth. The challenge is to make the wood so resistant that it can withstand the extreme conditions of space weather (solar radiation, temperature fluctuations and particle storms).

The next step is to develop a technical prototype which, if successful, could start production of an airworthy model. This could prevent harmful space debris from being created.

Less space junk from satellites made of wood?

Space debris is becoming more and more of a major problem for mankind because more and more satellites are being put into orbit in order to meet the growing demands of digitization. The scrap that is created endangers satellites and space stations, as collisions can cause great damage. The planning of space projects is also becoming increasingly difficult. In addition, parts can always fall back to earth.

A wooden satellite would be burned upon re-entry into the atmosphere without releasing harmful substances or raining debris on the earth. The lead scientist Takao Doi, who visited the ISS as an astronaut in 2008, revealed in an interview with the BBC.

ESA has sent a satellite in search of extraterrestrial life. Meanwhile, a NASA researcher advocates the theory that the end of our universe could come at any time.

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Japanese researchers want to send a wooden satellite into space in 2023

Japanese researchers are now turning to wood for satellites that can burn up in the atmosphere without leaving harmful residues. Together with the timber company Sumitomo Forestry, scientists from Kyoto University want to develop the first satellite made of wood, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. That reports Nikkei Asia.

When re-entering the atmosphere, the satellite should not only burn up without leaving any harmful residues, but also allow simpler structures. Because the natural product blocks neither electromagnetic waves nor the earth’s magnetic field, technical equipment such as antennas could be relocated inside.

According to the report, the researchers first want to find out the processing required for wood. It is mainly about resistance to the large temperature differences and strong sunlight, they told the BBC. Which wood is used is a trade secret. Sumitomo Forestry has more than 400 years of experience in handling the material.

The responsible scientist Takao Doi told the British news channel that they wanted to find ways to counteract the pollution of the atmosphere with harmful aluminum particles. These have so far been released when satellites re-enter and “at some point this will affect the environment”. As an astronaut, the researcher was twice in space.

Your idea of ​​using wood as a building material for equipment in space is not new: three NASA space probes from the so-called Ranger program for exploring the moon had landing capsules on board that were wrapped in balsa wood and were supposed to hit the moon – what but was only partially successful. The hardest part for a wooden satellite isn’t getting started either. It is the extreme conditions in space, as Popular Science explained years ago, that challenge the building material. Wood contains a lot of water, which would evaporate in space and thereby destabilize the structure. In addition, wood cannot distribute the heat from sunlight as well over the entire satellite. The building material also does not help against the increasingly acute problem of space junk.


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Television via satellite, antenna, cable or digital: What is the most expensive?

Cable, satellite or digital: if you want to receive television, you have different options. An analysis by the consumer portal Verivox now shows which connection costs the user the most.

Photo series with 13 pictures

TV reception is possible in Germany in four different ways: The classic transmission routes cable, satellite and antenna are on the one hand. But internet television is also becoming increasingly important.

According to the comparison portal Verivox, TV reception via cable network connection causes the highest additional costs for the consumer. This is mainly due to the high monthly basic fees for the connection. Vodafone charges 15 euros per month, the discount provider PYUR around 10 euros. For a TV package via cable, at least 20 euros are due, as Verivox has determined. That is more than twice as much as with other transmission routes.

Internet TV has advantages

Watching TV via the Internet is a little cheaper. “In the meantime, Telekom also offers TV tariff models without being linked to an Internet contract,” says the tariff expert Jens-Uwe Theumer at Verivox. “The market for online TV platforms such as Zattoo, Waipu or Joyn is only just beginning. Other providers will follow suit.” This is also a reaction of the market to the success of streaming providers such as Netflix.

Most households already have the necessary Internet connection with sufficient bandwidth. In order to be able to receive live television on all devices, all you need is the right TV package. With DSL providers, these cost 10 to 15 euros per month with HD usage and reception from private channels. The pure online platforms Zattoo and Waipu are sometimes a bit cheaper. With a customer account with these services, the user can watch TV while on the go.

Antenna and satellite are the cheapest

The classics offer the cheapest transmission routes: According to Verivox, television via antenna or satellite costs just under seven or six euros per month. In return, users accept a lower number of channels, especially when it comes to antenna reception. “Television is only free if you are satisfied with the outdated SD standard or if you do without private channels,” explains Verivox. Only 16 percent of TV households watch television this way.

In fact, antenna reception is falling sharply in Germany. This transmission route plays a role in only six percent of households. To this end, more and more people are relying on Internet television: around nine percent receive TV via their Internet provider, almost two percent use Zattoo, Waipu and the like.

Many consumers have no choice

The vast majority of German households (almost 90 percent) receive television in roughly equal proportions via cable or satellite. This is also due to the fact that the cable connection is often offered by the landlord, cannot be canceled separately and is already included in the rental costs. So if you want to use other transmission channels in such a situation, you pay twice. “More flexibility is urgently required here,” demands Theumer, referring to the monthly cancelable TV packages that can be taken out independently of the Internet provider.

Note: The t-online.de portal is an independent news portal and is operated by Ströer Digital Publishing GmbH.


SpaceX sends satellites into space

SpaceX rocket explodes during test landing

The video still shows a new rocket from the space company SpaceX at the launch.

(Photo: dpa)

Cape Canaveral A few days after a new SpaceX rocket exploded on a test flight landing, the space company launched a long-serving version of a rocket into space for a US radio provider. The unmanned “Falcon 9” rocket was launched on Sunday (local time) from the Cape Canaveral spaceport, the company announced on Twitter. The satellite radio provider SiriusXM also reported that the launch was successful and that the satellite is working as planned.

It was already the seventh flight for the first rocket stage, which this time again landed safely on the receiving ship “Just Read the Instructions” (in German, for example: just read the instructions for use). The start was originally planned for Saturday, but was postponed by a day in order to carry out further tests, it was said.

Last week, the new unmanned SpaceX rocket “Starship” exploded after a test flight due to a problem with the fuel system on landing. SpaceX founder Elon Musk was nevertheless satisfied after the test in the US state of Texas: “We got all the data we need.”

According to Musk’s plans, “Starship” will someday transport cargo and people to the moon and Mars. The rocket should be completely reusable. In the current “Falcon” missiles, only part of the steps land back on earth to be used again.

A test by competitor Virgin Galactic, founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, also turned out differently than planned: The manned spaceplane “VSS Unity” was supposed to reach space on Saturday from the US state of New Mexico.

Instead, the two pilots had to land it back on earth after separating from the mother ship. The company said there was probably a problem with computer communication. The test should now be evaluated and a new one should follow soon.


More: How Europe is wasting its future in space


A radio signal has been detected by Proxima Centauri – Space & Astronomy

An anomalous radio signal was picked up by the Breakthrough Listen Project astronomers with the Parkes radio telescope, located in Australia. It comes from the direction of the closest star to the Sun, Proxima Centauri, 4.2 light years away, and was identified by analyzing the data collected in 2019. The news, released by the British press, was considered with caution by Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which on its website notes that the possible sources of the signal can be different.

The signal, with an emission frequency of 982 megahertz, does not seem to come from a terrestrial antenna, it could in fact come from a satellite in orbit. There are over 2700 satellites in operation around our planet. But if it weren’t a satellite signal, what else could it be? Seti explains that it is possible that it came from something behind Proxima Centauri. If it didn’t come from Proxima Centauri, it could be something else that is far beyond.

Natural radio signals, produced by quasars or pulsars, are not narrowband and are not confined to a narrow range of frequencies, as this signal appears to be. “Natural astronomical signals – explains to ANSA Marta Burgay, researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf) – are usually on multiple frequencies continuously, not just one as in this case. However, we terrestrials continuously emit radio waves with these characteristics”. Suffice it to recall that a few years ago, again from the same telescope, a radio signal was picked up which was then discovered to have been produced by the microwave oven of the structure’s visitor center.

Another hypothesis is that these are natural radio signals emitted by a planet with a strong magnetic field, such as that of Jupiter. “There are many possible explanations, but until we know – concludes Seti – we will have to continue to consider the alien hypothesis among the possibilities”.