Despite it being standard procedure for astronauts to write wills before going into space, Mutta is surprised by Hibito's preparedness. Mutta meets Kenji's wife and daughter and learns about Kenji's own worries and dreams about becoming and astronaut. The third exam is just around the corner and a congratulatory party is held for candidates in Group B. Mutta learns about Serika's motivations for becoming an astronaut. Mutta wonders about his own resolve for becoming an astronaut.
Astronauts all have to prepare for the worst
On the plane ride back to Japan, Mutta has a dream where he and Hibito are returning to Earth from Space, but their pod's parachutes malfunction and don't open properly. Mutta wakes up in the middle of their descent. His alarm goes off to remind him that the ISS is visible from Japan that day. (See Note 1) Mutta remembers Hibito's letters that he stumbled upon at his place, they were Hibito's wills, but Mutta stopped himself before reading beyond "Dear Mutta, If I die". Mutta remembers that astronauts have to write wills before going into space. Mutta just was not prepared that his little brother would be writing one. Mutta tells himself to stop worrying so much.
Mutta arrives home and his parents aren't bothered at all that Hibito wrote a will, saying it's just part of procedure. Mutta heads out to see the ISS. Back at NASA, Hibito has a communication with an astronaut currently aboard the ISS. They talk a bit about Mutta. Mutta remembers as a kid, he and Hibito would eagerly go to see the ISS pass over. Mutta realizes that even though Hibito, mom and dad are all cheerful, deep down they are all preparing for the worst. Mutta decides that it is his turn to show his individual resolve.
Kenji's daughter Fu-chan
The next night Mutta and the other candidates from Group B are invited to go out to a party, to celebrate for those that made it to the 3rd exam. Mutta meets up with Kenji beforehand and meets his wife and baby girl. When Mutta and Kenji head off to the party, Mutta says he is jealous of Kenji's family. However, Kenji reflects and says that if he becomes an astronaut and goes to Mars, then he will not see his daughter for two and a half years. Kenji says he should be able to cope, but wonders if his daughter will be able to cope. Mutta is silent as Kenji talks.
Mutta and Kenji arrive at the restaurant and receive a warm welcome by Fumi who seems to have organized the event. Fumi gives a short introductory speech that the party is to congratulate the 5 people that made it to the 3rd exam (Mutta, Kenji, Serika, Yamashita-kun and Itou-kun) from Group B. Mutta brought the Hibito's autographs for Fumi and Serika. Unfortunately he was not able to get Hibito to leave a kiss mark, so Mutta did it himself, but Mutta does not tell this to Fumi or Serika. Some of the other candidates seem excited about Mutta since he made an appearance on American TV (in episode 8). However Manabu and Yamato still seem to think that Mutta only passed because he was Hibito's brother (See Note 2. Also these were the same two that thought Mutta had an advantage during the second exam, in episode 3).
Mutta, Kenji and Serika are asked what type of space missions they are interested in. Mutta says he'll go to Mars and beyond. Kenji wants to go to Mars, saying the landscape there, like the mountains and canyons dwarf Mt. Everest and the Grand Canyon. Kenji wonders what they look like in person. Serika says she wants to board the ISS. Mutta wonders why Serika wants to board the ISS because. Although no one said anything, everyone knows that the ISS will be shut down soon due to greater emphasis by NASA on moon bases and space exploration.
Mutta looks up to the moon
Mutta asks Fumi instead of Serika directly why Serika wants to board the ISS. Apparently Serika's father died when she was 14 of an incurable disease. Since her father was a doctor, he was working on a cure for that disease but without success. So, Serika wants to continue her father's will and work on a new cure that requires zero-gravity to produce. As Mutta is walking home alone, he thinks that Serika-chan deserves to go to space more than he does. Mutta wonders what he's doing.
Points of Interest
The following notes are referenced in the plot summary.
- The ISS stands for International Space Station. It is a habitable artificial satellite which has been in orbit since 1998.
- To a certain extent it is true that Mutta only made it so far because he is Hibito's older brother. It was Hibito that told his mother to send Mutta's resumé to JAXA, which allowed him to be considered for astronaut recruitment. Also much of Mutta's decisions and actions are influenced by his ideal that "an older brother should always lead." So, since Mutta is Hibito's older brother, much of his actions revolve around what Hibito does.