A space rocket bearing the image of Sonic the Hedgehog is launching in June 2022, and that rocket will be carrying the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (also called JUICE, although I can’t figure out where the “C” comes from in that name) all the way to the far reaches of our solar system. For science.
JUICE was designed by the European Space Agency and Airbus, and one of the instruments on the explorer was designed in by a team at Tohoku University in Japan – who asked if Sega’s iconic blue spiky boi could be the official mascot the Radio & Plasma Wave Investigation (RPWI),one of the mission’s primary tasks. This mission will entail arriving at Jupiter in 2029, doing a few tests on some of the moons, determining whether any of them are habitable and all that jazz, before finally running out of fuel and intentionally crashing into Jupiter’s Ganymede moon in 2034.
This means that Sonic the Hedgehog will be the first video game character to make it all the way to Jupiter, and also the first man-made thing to then crash into Jupiter and perhaps instigate the first interplanetary war. Let’s hope that this is not the case and that Sonic instead goes down as a quirky side note in astronomical history rather than the arbiter of deadly alien conflict.