Sunday, 24 June 2012

Space Brothers - Episode 13

Back in the confines of their testing environment, the challenges continue for our three teams of wannabe astronauts, while at least one member of these groups has realised that the wristbands they're wearing are far more than simply "lucky charms", and rather are yet another way of monitoring each individuals performance and response to any given situation.

Such concerns seems to be far from the minds of Mutta and some of the others as they go about their testing - running on a treadmill while answering simple (well, simple if you want to be an astronaut) mathematical questions, typing out long reams of text to evaluate their concentration and endurance, and so on.

Where things really get interesting is in the group's next big challenge - a request for each team to write and submit a letter of protest to a TV news anchor who is publicly skeptical about the point of spending so much of taxpayers money on space exploration.  Of course, this is a topic that all of our applicants feel strongly about, and they all have their own take on the need to explore space - Tomii from Team B crafts a response based around the thoughts of Richard Dawkins and eminent scientists, whereas Mutta ponders a metaphor used by another astronaut, Soichi Noguchi (who incidentally voices himself here, real-life astronaut as he is).  As some, but not all, of our participants clamour over what is the "correct" answer, others wonder where there is such a thing - indeed, Mutta's eventual assertion is that protesting at all is pointless, and that ultimately the eventual long-term accessibility of space travel to all and sundry will eventual change the opinions of those still of the belief that it's a waste of money.  Although all three teams ultimately submit a letter, Mutta's thoughts seem to have left a mark upon JAXA's director, if nothing else...

Although there wasn't quite as much here to grab us as previous episodes of Space Brothers, this week's instalment nonetheless came into its own thanks to its discussion as to the importance of space travel - the kind of thing which I could happily hear being endlessly debated, even if the responses within this series were naturally rather one-sided.  It's these little windows into the world in which we live now that do their part to make this show both enjoyable and accessible, and this is a great example of this, proving to be at least a little thought-provoking while also having some fun and taking care to slowly build its characters.  Put simply, Space Brothers shows no signs of running out of steam as it reaches for the stars.

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