Mushrooms are being considered to be the new materials for making satellites. With thousands of artificial satellites in orbit, it has also produced massive space junk in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Experts predict that the situation will only worsen in the coming years due to the many telecommunications, internet, and small satellites that are expected to be launched. These satellites will most likely crowd the LEO and create risks for a collision of space debris, and environmental concerns.
A New Type of Satellite Made from Mushrooms
Engineers, designers, and satellite manufacturers are looking for ways to redesign satellites. A satellite that would hopefully solve the problem of increasing space junk.
Cybersecurity expert Max Justice, a former Marine and "Cyber Famer" who worked in the space industry for many years, is currently working on a new type of satellite made out of mycelium fibers.
This material is known to be tough, heat-resistant, and environmentally friendly that will hopefully trigger a revolution in the booming satellite industry, Inverse reported.
Mycelium fibers are protein-rich, multicellular material extracted from the root of fungi that grow into microstructures. When it is dried, they are lightweight, extremely tough, and have a tensile strength that is at par with the silk. Due to this, mycelium fiber is also investigated to be used in other materials and manufacturing.
Presently, the biggest concern of satellites is the possibility of collision when they become defunct. To mitigate this problem and prevent the exponential rise of space debris, satellite manufacturers are looking for ways to deorbit them quicker.
Problem With Using Mushrooms for Satellites
The idea of using mushrooms as materials for making satellites is still new and under development. Although it sounds promising, it also overlooks another hazard of it leaving traces of aluminum particles and other toxic residues behind when it reenters the atmosphere, Universe Today reported.
Unfortunately, these particles in the upper atmosphere would stay for many years and could create another environmental problem. But Justice believes that mycelium fungus could solve all these concerns when used for satellite manufacturing.
Other Uses of Mushrooms
Designers are looking into the use of mycelium fibers as a durable, inexpensive, and non-toxic means for building eco-friendly houses, plastics, and insulation.
Science Focus reported that mycelium is being used in the production of lightweight, plastic-free packaging that are are super-strong and fire-resistant blocks.
Moreover, some designers are also investigating the potential of using mushrooms to grow clothes, shoes, vases, lamps, tables, and other products that could have a positive impact on the environment.
Using mushrooms in making new materials is considered less harmful to the environment given that manufacturing plastics or concrete involves mining materials from the ground and treatment at high temperatures. But with using mycelium fibers as an alternative, the only by-product is having edible mushrooms.
Some scientists also believe that mushrooms and fungi could help humans in growing food or building on other planets, like Mars.