Japan is busy preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will be making use of the occasion for celebrating the cultural heritage like all the other hosting countries before. This involves the restoration of heritage sites and upgrading the rail system. However, Japan has a particular heritage that other countries don’t; anime. Japan has plans of launching robots hailing from Mobile Suit Gundam series into space on a satellite.
The said feat will be achieved using a collaboration between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the University of Tokyo. Two models that are under four inches of Gundam and Char’s Zaku robots will be going into orbit on a microsatellite that is eleven inches long and little less than four inches wide.
For those who are not aware, the original Mobile Suit Gundam series aired back in 1979. Surprisingly, the series had disappointing ratings. The show’s popularity skyrocketed only after Bandai – Japanese toymaker – acquired the rights to create plastic versions of the battle robots from the show. Once the viewers were able to interact with the toys, they were able to relate with the show, and the show was able to surpass all other anime shows.
The Mobile Suit Gundam became a hit in reruns, and the series was relaunched back in 1985. It has become the global face of anime ever since. The Wizard Anime News Network ranked the Gundam as the second greatest anime that was ever released in North America. The custom satellite is being designed by the University of Tokyo and will have the Gundam model mounted on the top while the Char’s Zaku robot will be placed in the ‘cockpit’. Both models will show messages of support to athletes while their eyes change color to match the Olympic Flag.
The said models will be crafted using a protective resin that will allow them to withstand the trip to space. Seven cameras will be incorporated into the project for monitoring the models on their journey and sending the transmission back to Earth. Shinichi Nakasuka, a professor at Intelligent Space Systems Laboratory, University of Tokyo, said, ‘When I heard about this project, I wondered whether they would really go through with it. We’ve put satellites into orbit before, but then I thought we might be able to do something in space to help cheer on the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I’m feeling a bit of pressure as the creator of the satellite for this project, but I will turn that pressure into enjoyment and do my best.’