I like origami. It’s simple, has clean lines, and builds on the idea that something can come out of nothing – voila, here’s a third dimension. Also, it probably appeals to my OCD side. The concept of something being folded and creased EXACTLY in half is somehow soothing. Plus the paper itself is usually pretty, delicate, and colorful, and therefore attractive to the eye. And there is a sort of science to it – the idea of space manipulation and the arrangement of the folds are very structured and mathematical.
However, the idea of origami masters teaming up with scientists and professors in Japan to launch a paper airplane from space for re-entry into the atmosphere seems a bit weird to me. True, the Japanese are scientific enough to conduct a variety of heat and wind tests on their model paper plane, and due to the lightness of the paper plane, do not expect them to build up enough friction to burn up upon re-entry. However, I still have some trouble as to how this concept will be helpful with other re-entry vehicles. Will designs be more paper-airplane-shaped? Will they do additional launches in which paper will play a role in bringing goods back down to the surface?
My recommendation – send a hot dog down inside the paper airplane. I’m sure the resulting scorchy dog will be very scientific and revolutionize the way we think about re-entry and the upper atmosphere.