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NASA and Japan Team Up to Make Anime Mascots

If pictures of the furthest reaches of space bore you, never fear, anime characters are here.

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If pictures of the furthest reaches of space bore you, never fear, anime characters are here. NASA recently teamed up with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency to create an anime character to represent the Global Precipitation Measurement mission. Here are the two winning designs from artists Yuki Kiriga and Sabrynne Buchholz:

Left, “GPM” by Yuki Kiriga. Right, “Mizu-chan” by Sabrynne Buchholz. Image: NASA

NASA writes about the winners, and their winning characters:

Buchholz, 14, was the president of her school’s art club this past year and hopes to pursue a career in animation. She enjoys watching anime and learning about Asian cultures. Her winning character for the contest is Mizu-chan (Mizu means water) who personifies water and precipitation. Mizu-chan’s blue dress and blue strands of hair signify water while the yellow strands of her hair represent the sun. Her dress is hemmed with clouds, which can produce rain or snow. When water drops from the clouds lining her dress, it evaporates with help from her yellow strands of hair and then, goes back through the water cycle where it condenses again as clouds at the bottom of her dress.

Kiriga is a comics writer and illustrator. She works for various Japanese publishing companies and enjoys drawing satellite illustrations. Her winning character is a personification of the Earth-observing satellite, GPM, for which the anime character is named. The GPM anime character rides on a platform of the GPM spacecraft instruments. He is the leader of the GPM Constellation and receives help from other satellites to make precipitation observations and measurements. He wears a kimono designed with a snow pattern on one half and a rain pattern on the other half, showing that he observes both snow and rain.

Runners up included a comic about Aquiia, an Artificially Intelligent robot satellite system that has become sentient, a character who was a victim of hurricane sandy and a “fun-spirited genius living in his father’s shadow.”

The winners will star in a comic series aimed at teaching the public about the science of precipitation.

H/t DesignTaxi

More from Smithsonian.com:

Apollo 11 Moonwalk Montage
Science Meets Art in Space

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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