As Team E sits around the campfire, warming themselves in the cold desert night, they reflect of past events. This is a recap episode that covers a variety of events and episodes (see points of interest). Throughout this episode Mutta seems to be coming down with a terrible cold.
Do I Have Good Luck?
Mutta and his mother
Despite having just eaten dinner with the others, Serika is getting so hungry that a cactus is starting to look like a churro (See point of interest 1). Nitta comes back with a large log, all Serika sees is a giant churro, whereas Mutta sees a rocket! Mutta remembers talking with his mother about the Mars-1 rocket, his mother commented on how skinny the rocket looked, comparing it to an unreliable, unsteady bottle rocket. Mrs. Nanba was just worried about her son (Hibito) going up into space in the Mars-1 rocket.
The rocket launches into space
On the day of the launch, many people had their eyes on Hibito as the first Japanese astronaut and youngest astronaut to land on the moon. Mutta had mixed feelings, he was half jealous and half happy for his younger brother. His emotions were kind of like the weather that day, cloudy and mixed, with a 50% chance of clearing up. Eventually the weather did clear up, allowing the rocket to launch successfully. Mutta had an amazing view of the launch, seeing clearly the smoky trail left by the rocket. The team is happy once they get into space, although the rocket only took them 5 minutes to get from ground to space, for Hibito it took 5 years of training before that. Hibito says no, he has been waiting the past 20 years for this moment.
Team A makes udon together
Mutta reflects back on JAXA's astronaut selection exams in the sealed boxes. The 15 Japanese candidates at the time had been divided into 3 teams of 5 people, each team living in a separate sealed environment. They spent 2 weeks in the sealed environments, living together and doing various tasks. Some of the tasks included running on a treadmill while solving as many math problems as possible, or copy a large piece of text which is all random capital letters. A few days into things problems started occurring. Someone broke the clock and there was loud beeping noises occurring at night. Eventually Mutta was able to figure out that JAXA was sending secret instruction so individual team members via "green cards". One of the green cards was given to Fukuda without the other team members knowing telling him to break the clock.
Two men in a park
Nearing the end of the exams, Mutta had gotten really close with the rest of his team members (Serika, Fukuda, Furuya and Nitta). He was happy that there were other people that share his passion about space. Mutta was especially surprised and happy when everyone in his team knew Sharon Kaneko (an astronomer who Mutta started visiting a lot as a child with Hibito). Back in grade school, Mutta had tried to get his classmates interested in space and to visit Sharon at her observatory, but no one was interested. After the exam ended, and a few weeks later, Mutta was delivered the news that he passed the exam in the sealed boxes and was moving on to the next step to becoming an astronaut. Mutta received the news in person by Masa Hoshika from JAXA.
The Japanese ASCANs suit up
The 5 candidates who became astronauts for JAXA were Nanba Mutta, Makabe Kenji, Itou Serika, Kitamura Ena and Nitta Reiji. After receiving their uniforms at a press conference, they head off to Houston to start basic astronaut training, along with about 2 dozen other astronauts from around the world and America.
In Houston, their first part of training is survival training: Vincent Bold who is leading and organizing the survival train, has the roughly 30 ASCANs (Astronaut candidates) to trek through the desert toward Amarillo, Texas. Bold is a bit of a hard-ass who handles things in a military manner and always cuts to the chase. This time for the survival training, they were split up into 5 teams of 6 people each. Team E consists of the 5 Japanese ASCANs (Mutta, Serika, Kenji, Ena and Nitta) and the 1 Indian ASCAN (Amanti Patel). Trekking through the desert had its own difficulties and problems. It gets exhausting fairly quickly carrying around a 12kg backpack, but each Team has persevered. Tomorrow marks the final day of survival training and their trek through the desert.
Points of Interest
- Serika is an excellent cook, she always cooks large portions and has a huge appetite.
It would be too tedious to point out each and every episode that is referenced or used in this recap, so here are a few highlights:
- Episodes 30 and 31 cover Hibito's launch into space.
- The episodes about JAXA's exam in the sealed boxes are episodes 11 to 20.
- The episodes about Mutta passing and becoming a full fledged astronaut are episodes 37 to 39.
- Episode 47 is when all the ASCANs meet each other.