Sonic the Hedgehog will be making his way into space very soon, by appearing as the mascot on the team logo of RPWI (Radio and Plasma Wave Investigation) detector!
The radio and wave observation device will be installed on the Jupiter Ice Satellite Explorer, currently under development by under the Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer (otherwise known as JUICE) satellite exploration plan by the European Space Agency (ESA). Japan is involved in the collaboration through the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and will be contributing to multiple instruments onboard the satellite.
RPWI is being developed as a collaboration between several European countries, along with Professor Kasaba’s group at the Planetary Atmospheric Plasma Research group at the Graduate School of Science at Tohoku University.
According to the Graduate School of Science’s page, it was the European side of the team that suggested Sonic for the logo, because Sonic is a hero who plays an active role in the universe. Dr. Jan-Erik Wahlund from the Swedish Institute for Space Physics, was given permission to use the character for their logo design (which was designed by SEGA) during a visit to Tohoku University.
The probe is scheduled to launch in 2022, arriving at Jupiter in 2029.