Sonic the Hedgehog has found himself a new job – as part of the logo of a space mission! In 2019, Japan’s Tohoku University and SEGA announced that Sonic would be featured in the logo of the RPWI (Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation) device. The project is being developed by Tohoku University with assistance from teams in Sweden, Poland, and France. It was the European team, led by Prof. Jan-Erik Wahlund, who suggested the Sonic-themed logo, as many staff members had fond memories of playing Sonic games, and because Sonic is a hero who has gone on many space adventures.
The RPWI device is designed to examine and confirm the existence of water bodies beneath the icy surface of the Jovian moons Callisto and Ganymede, using radio wave activity. The logo features Sonic in his classic design, alongside the slogan “If it’s electrified and wiggles, it’s ours!” Next to Sonic is a lightning bolt symbol that represents the equipment, and a miniature JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) explorer.
Originally planned for launch in 2022, the RPWI device faced several delays. However, it was successfully launched on the long-awaited mission yesterday. The probe will take a few years to complete its tour of the solar system, making use of gravity assist maneuvers from Earth, the Moon, and Venus, before reaching the Jovian system in July 2031. After a flyby of Europa, the probe will enter a high-inclination orbit around Jupiter to study its polar regions and magnetosphere. In December 2034, the device will begin orbiting Ganymede, before crashing into the moon the following year, unless scientists decide this could contaminate a liquid ocean.
Stay tuned to Sonic City for more news and updates on Sonic’s space mission, as well as all things Sonic the Hedgehog!