JAXA's solar sail mission IKAROS is still hibernating, and there's no way of knowing if the spacecraft will reawaken or not. They try to raise contact with the spacecraft once a month, with the last attempt being made on March 10; we can only wait to see if they'll succeed. What better time to release a theme song for the mission? IKAROS has always been even more full of personality even than other JAXA missions (which is saying a lot).
By the way, I'm not sure why, but this flash player is not showing any kind of control that allows you to stop it once it starts. Until I figure out how to do that, all you need to do if you want to stop the song is to refresh the page.
Of course, it's in Japanese; all I managed to catch on a first listen was an "arigato" (thank you) to DCAM1 and DCAM2, the little deployable cameras, long gone now, that photographed IKAROS spinning in space. But they posted a PDF with the lyrics (which also included that adorable cartoon), and with a little help from Twitter I have a translation. The translation was by Nathaniel Guy (@NattyBumpps), who also commented, "If this were the theme song to an anime, I would totally watch it!" Me too!
(Spoken) All right! Hop on the yacht and let's travel through the solar system!
(1st) The sun sparkles in the sea of space Spinning around, the world's first space yacht IKAROS No matter what happens, it's a challenge! You'll keep on going! Believing in distant, great dreams Dreams infinitely far off, out into space Come on, take off! Recharge your courage! Spread your sails with all your might Let's set forth into the future, catching the light of hope!
(2nd) Your polished membrane makes electricity with solar cells Your flashing crystals Your sails are thin, but they're tough polyimide Vast, vast space... what could be up ahead? Believe in the path you take An epic voyage through the sea of far space To journey on, pushed on by light Steer as you wi silver sparkle blooming like a flower in the dar
(Spoken) "DCAM1, DCAM2, thank you for taking photos out in space! No matter how far we go, the three of us will always be together. Forever and forever!" I'll grow larger, and go on adventures, farther and farther! Next is Jupiter, my dream and the dream of big brother Hayabusa!
(3rd) These passions I shut up within my heart for so long It's time to open them up, right now! Passing through the darkness of outer space Come on, let's work together Full of dreams, I spread my sails wide Into the unlimited future, catching the light of hope!
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