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Space test reveals Magnolia as top choice for LignoSat

 Monday, June 3, 2024

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Space test reveals Magnolia as top choice for LignoSat

Kyoto University has recently worked on an international project. The project was tested and confirmed the high durability of space wood aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The most interesting part is that, the experiment results demonstrated minimal deterioration and strong stability of the samples chosen for the wooden artificial satellite, LignoSat.

The research group conducted a preliminary inspection involving strength tests and elemental and crystal structural analyses of the wood samples, retrieved from space by Astronaut Koichi Wakata and returned to Earth from the ISS on SpaceX CRS-26—a Commercial Resupply Service mission.

Despite the extreme environment of outer space involving significant temperature changes and exposure to intense cosmic rays and dangerous solar particles for ten months, tests confirmed no decomposition or deformations, such as cracking, warping, peeling, or surface damage.

The project involved three wood specimens that were tested by the professionals and shows no deformation after space exposure. Not only that, the experiment results also confirmed no mass change in each wood specimen before and after space exposure.

The research group has decided that LignoSat, which is scheduled for a joint launch by NASA and JAXA in 2024, will likely utilize Magnolia wood—known as “Hoonoki” in Japanese—due to its ideal properties. The team selected Magnolia for its relatively high workability, dimensional stability, and overall strength.

In preparation for the planned launch of a wooden artificial satellite in 2024, the research group is exploring the fundamental mechanisms of nano-level material degradation. Their findings could pave the way for robust and high-functioning wood materials suitable for new applications.

Source: phys.org

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