Japanese Astronauts Check Gundam Models for Space Flight

Science Society Technology

Shizuoka, Sept. 4 (Jiji Press)--Japanese astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Norishige Kanai visited on Wednesday a manufacturing factory building models of humanoid robots from the popular "Mobile Suit Gundam" animation series, which are slated to be launched into space.

The project is a part of efforts by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, to boost spirits ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games. In the project, a satellite carrying models of Gundam and Zaku, piloted by the animation series' main character and his rival, respectively, will be launched into space.

Noguchi and Kanai visited the Bandai Hobby Center in the city of Shizuoka, central Japan, which creates molds for the models.

The two spoke with factory staff about the special materials for the models that can withstand the space environment, asking questions such as what happens when radiation and ultraviolet rays hit the models.

"It's like reliving a childhood dream," Kanai, who played with plastic models of Gundam robots in his childhood, said after the visit. "It is a great project that is very Japanese."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press