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Headscratchers: Planetes
  • Given that Yuri is Russian and his wife was Japanese, why did she write have that compass engraved in English?
    • It could be that both are ignorant of the other's native language, and that English is their common one. Was there any previous statement to the contrary?
      • It's a minor plot point in the manga; Hachimaki's mother talks in front of Yuri while the crew is visiting Japan, and doesn't know that Yuri understands her until he replies in Japanese.
      • Also, at one point during the anime, Hachimaki's mother compliments Yuri on how well he speaks Japanese.
      • Maybe they both speak English better than Yuri speaks Japanese or she speaks Russian, so while they could talk in 2 or all three languages, English is still their best one.
      • Not really. We know that Yuri speaks Japanese fluently, so engraving it in Japanese would have been his wife's easiest option. It's also likely his wife wold have picked up at least some Russian; also, 'Please Save Yuri' is a pretty simple phrase, so even if she spoke English better than Russian, having it engraved in Russian wouldn't have been that hard.
      • On the other hand, it appears to me like she'd scratched it herself thus making English the easiest language to do it in, since both Cyrillic and Kanji are immensely harder to do.
      • Cyrillic isn't any harder than Latin to scratch on something, what with both alphabets descending from the same Greek letters. And Kanji is actually easier, as the Chinese characters are made from the straight or gently curved lines only — they're named "strokes" for a reason.
    • She thinks English is really neat.
      • Probably. It was supposed to be a lucky charm, after all. She could have figured that writing it in English would make it more special.
      • Most Japanese indeed think that English is cool.
    • Most likely it's part of a Translation Convention. Think about it. The most likely lingua-franca for space is English, just like it is currently in business on earth. It's not like I'd expect a guy named Locksmith to be speaking Japanese natively, much less all the people from El Tanika or wherever.
      • In the anime, during maneuvers, you can hear characters (in the original Japanese) using English ("You copy?"), implying that it's indeed the Lingua Franca of space (much like on Earth for aviation).

  • The pickpocket from one of the earlier episodes... Who in their right mind would take a few petty larceny charges and escalate them to kidnapping/hostage-taking and possibly attempted murder? On a spacecraft, which is basically the least likely place someone who is on the run could evade authorities? He seriously didn't think his plan out too well.
    • He panicked. He never expected to be found, and when he was, he took rash action.
    • His plan was to keep the child hostage until after the spaceship landed and he left.
      • In as much as he had a "plan" at all...

  • In the manga, why does everybody always trudge along on the surface of the moon? Shouldn't they be leaping and bounding?
    • Control. Tanabe, still new, illustrates the biggest consequence of leaping and bounding in the first episode of the anime that takes place on the moon, when she makes a small misstep and spins right into a decorative hedge. You can't control your trajectory once you're in mid-leap without applying Newtonian thrust, and there's no sense in wasting propellant after you screw up while showing off when you might need it for an emergency, unless you're already in an emergency where time is of the essence and you aren't hauling, say, 50+ kilos of dead mass on your back. As opposed to, say, an emergency caused by being chased by lunar ninjas. For that matter, this even assumes that suits issued to Copernicus (as opposed to the deep-space suits used on Seven in LEO/MEO) are equipped with such thrusters. After all, why should you spring for the additional expense of installing thrusters when your EVA suit is being sent someplace with gravity and a surface?
      • See the Cold Equation big spoiler example. It indeed points out that Copernicus station suits are not equipped with thrusters.

  • One of the first few anime episodes has a tense standoff with Tanabe threatening to throw a coffin into the atmosphere. How does she intend to do that? Unless she has a really good throwing arm the coffin will just calmly drift away from their vessel if she pushes it off, and the new orbit will not hit the atmosphere noticeably sooner than their own orbit will. So one of her teammates could restrain her while the other could easily catch up with the object using suit thrusters and tug it back. They would probably even have time to use a fishbone (if I recall the name correctly) to do it, unless their vessel was already dangerously close to the atmosphere. I guess she could be planning to actively thrust the thing into the atmosphere using her own suit's thrusters, but that would be stupid even for her, impossible because her teammates would easily be able to catch up because they don't have to deal with the added mass of the coffin, and I think not what she said she planned to do anyway. Am I missing something here?
    • I guess the crew didn't want to manhandle her. It doesn't seem like a very safe thing to do.
    • This is one of the places where Planetes gets the physics wrong. It's much easier to fall into the atmosphere in the Planetes universe than the real one. Just look at what happened to Fee after she collided with the terrorist's weapon, or what happened to Yuri after he found his wife's compass (although Fee's incident could be explained if she were thrusting against her orbit to catch up with the terrorist's weapon). So, it is possible for her to throw a coffin into the atmosphere faster than they could recover it.

  • Why in Odin's name is the Debris Section SO HORRIBLY unrealistically hated? It's said they were given improper resources due to a clerical error, and yet people latch onto that and the garbage connection and call them "scum" and "trash" to the point of absurdity. KKK members probably feel better about black people than the rest of Technora about the Debris Section.
    • They're considered to be garbage collectors in space. Nobody thinks that what they do is important.
    • So that they can be the woobie department.
    • IIRC it's said that they're not very profitable, so they're probably seen as dead weight from a corporate standpoint.
      • Adaptation Decay imnsho, along with toilet humor and lunar ninjas. In the manga, they had quite friendly working atmosphere, recall chit-chat between Fee and occassional Technora staff during docking somewhere around vol.1. It's more like they were "kinda irrelevant", not in limelight or something like that... landing airliner without land radar guidance is quite dangerous, but do you know names of those who operate radars?
      • Also, the whole profitability things is complete BS. Need I say it was never mentioned in the source? They weren't supposed to bring anything back that is, all they did was wasting fuel, taking up docking space, requiring land support, hanging up there in space, oh, and preventing suborbital liner accidents. GC department wasn't there because it was, or wasn't, profitable. It was there because it was necessary.
      • That brings up another question: cleaning up space trash is so important, but selling the pieces isn't profitable. So why does the government require companies to do it for nothing but what it makes by itself (thus they'll never put decent funding behind the section in charge of such a job) instead of just paying them enough to do it that it becomes profitable (so they'll actually give a crap about it)? The current system seems to be based on the idea that companies would do more than the bare minimum that's required of them if it's something that loses them money.
      • Clearing up debris is profitable in the long run, because it means less of your shuttles get destroyed by a chance collision with a floating screw. However, most of the bureaucrats probably don't really get it except in an abstract sense.
      • Actually somebody was giving out some grants for the debris section. I remember in a couple episodes debris section had to make a quota so the company could get the small grant from the governments. Overall I think it is incredibly realistic that the debris section is so underfunded and disliked just like it would be in real life.
    • It's the tragedy of the commons. It's relatively unlikely that any individual recovered debris would harm a craft from your own country, or company. Most of the time, you are spending resources safeguarding other people's space exploration. So the incentive is to do as little debris collection as possible, basking in the benefit of everyone else's hard work.

  • I never read the manga, but there was one thing that bugged me in one of the last episodes of the anime, when Tanabe and Claire were wondering around the moon trying to find help. Tanabe was concerned about her air supply, though Claire's wasn't going down as quickly because Claire wasn't walking. Why didn't their suits have some sort of mechanism to share the air they both have? It seems like bad design, since standard scuba gear comes with a second valve for this reason.
    • I'm going to take a guess that this is a case of Reality Is Unrealistic, because extra valves on a space suit that have to be manually hooked up together = BAD IDEA.
    • I was thinking that it would have been a much better idea for Tanabe to have left Claire behind, and ran off for help. She could travel much faster without the weight and use less oxygen, which would give her a much better chance of reaching help, and Claire would survive because she wasn't moving and could basically sleep until the rescue team arrives.
    • That scene was completely absent from the manga. There was a similar one, but with Hachi and Leonov, and, IIRC, their transfer valves were simply, well, incompatible.

  • After Hachimaki broke his leg on the moon, he walked around with a crutch. Wouldn't it be easier to just hop? In fact, nobody seemed to be walking the way you do on the moon.
    • Have you ever tried hopping in 1/6 g? Well, neither have I, but it would be very, very easy to get off balance and take a (long, graceful) nosedive.
    • In the manga, he did hop. Still with crutches, though, presumably due to it being kinda hard to keep balance hopping in a low-gravity environment and 2-legged hopping impossible, as the landing impact stays exactly the same no matter the gees and is thus potentially damaging to the broken leg.

  • How did the immigration laws on the moon get so messed up? They either need to make it so illegal immigrants can get jobs, or be willing to deport them. Why didn't the people who were effectively imprisoned by this system spend their time protesting instead of pretending to be ninjas?
    • Not all that different from American immigration laws, actually- or Japanese, for that matter, from what I've read. Never underestimate the incompetence of these sorts of bureaucracies.
      • In America, illegal immigrants can be deported. I don't know about Japan.

  • Aren't there several references (in the anime, at least) that imply that the moon is rotating, not tide-locked? Ugh.
    • Just finished watching the whole 26 episodes, and I didn't see any such reference, myself.
    • Neither have I. They could have been referring to the fact that the Moon rotates once each orbit, or the fact that it wobbles significantly, so there's a significant area that only sometimes faces the Earth.

  • As far as I can tell, the problem with illegal space dumping is that they're sticking it on debris that has to be picked up. Why don't they just make a permanent space dump where people can glue on all the waste they want?
    • Because space debris in general isn't a garbage that a certain irresponsible someone just dumps over their fence. It usually happens accidentally, and you cannot plan accidents.

  • The motives for the Space Liberation Front don't make any sense. The first reason they give is they don't want the whole peak oil thing happening again. At this point it's clear that people are preparing to get energy from Jupiter, and I'm pretty sure the Sun will run out before that will. They talk about the monopolization of space, which makes some sense for the moon, but they mostly used that argument when talking about Jupiter. Also, it makes their attempting to cause Kessler Syndrome counter-productive, as that would also keep third-world countries from using space. You can't monopolize something that size. Hakim Ashmid acts like stopping space development will help his home country, which got really bad after running out of oil. No amount of halting space development will bring oil back.
    • I saw the Space Liberation Front, actually, as a ... well, a "front". In fact, its real leaders were, in my opinion, bigwigs from the very corporations that develop space, who used disposable and deluded mooks to carry out actions that, at the end, would allow the corporations to get whatever they wanted.
      • But they tried to cause Kessler's syndrome, thereby making space inaccessible, which would be utterly catastrophic for said corporations.
      • Well, the manga SDF and the anime SDF were different. Remember though that Kessler syndrome isn't permanent. So kesslering would theoretically give the poorer nations a chance to catch up. Another point is that there are multiple wings to the SDF - the radical wing, that want to end space development, and the political wing that wants to affect socioeconomic chances. The political wing was definitely in charge of the moonbase operation, but their involvement wasn't clear with the ISPV 7 operation.
    • Although this may be more a WMG, I got the impression that there were actually two different groups: the SDF, plus an unnamed group that was working to "equalize space". The attempt to destroy Seven was carried out by the SDF working alone. The plan to drop the von Braun on Sea of Tranquility City was set up by the unnamed group, using the SDF for their resources. The SDF thought that they would actually go through with it, but when the unnamed group got what they actually wanted, they left the SDF hanging (and let them take the blame). Remember those terrorists who were complaining about being abandoned?

  • This is really just me missing something, but if Goro Hoshino was part of the Space Liberation Front, why does he still end up flying on the Von Braun?
    • He wasn't part of the Space Liberation Front!! The one who was part of the Space Liberation Front was Hakim Ashmid, and he was inside just enough time to carry out an attempt to blow it up, disappearing afterwards.

  • In ships where there is no artificial gravity, or parts of the ship where there isn't, why do they bother having elevators? Just having an empty drop shaft would make much more sense.
    • If I recall, they actually do that in a couple of ships. (The one they take on the first trip to the moon) It's probably just a comfort thing on larger ships; would you rather have to navigate all the way up and down when you could just ride? Actually...some sort of rotating-rope system where one goes up and another down, and you just grab on and ride to your destination might work. You know, like on smaller ski slopes.
    • For the others, the elevators could be for hauling bulky cargoes. Even in free fall, a pair of human arms isn't going to be able to lift an entire loaded supply pallet all by itself; "weightless" does not mean the mass goes away, or the force required to move it.
      • Microgravity does enable a single human to move just about any object. It's just gonna take quite a long time. And you do not want something heavy moving rapidly inside the spacecraft anyway. So handling cargo is perfectly possible without elevators, although some kind of mechanized transporters would certainly help. There's no reason for such a transporter to be enclosed, though, as falling out is essentially harmless.

  • The final scene with the baby clothes. Unless I missed some major time skip where Tanabe could have had a baby already, and another on the way... why on earth are they washing baby clothes when Tanabe is still pregnant.
    • It's called being prepared. Either those are Hachi and his brother's old clothes, in which case they've most likely been boxed away for years and could use a good cleaning, or they're new, and it's usually best to wash new clothes before you wear them. Honestly, they're probably just excited and want to do it. Doesn't need to be complicated.

  • The length of the Jovian mission. It's repeatedly stated that it'll take seven years to complete, but in the end Von Braun's final insertion into the Jovian orbit took place a year and a half after the start. Even assuming the Earth and Jupiter in opposition (at their shortest distance between, roughly) at the start, and would be in conjunction (respectively, at their longest distance) during the return leg, that would only roughly double the transit time. This gives us about 4.5 years for the flight as a pessimistic estimate, and three years (assuming equal distances in both directions) in optimistic case. So, what the hell they're gonna do in those 3-4 years between? It's not that Von Braun is limited to Hohmann's orbits (in fact, given the Tandem Mirror engine specs, the year-and-a-half time to Jupiter looks a bit much, unless they were limited by a propellant supply and thus coasted some of that distance ballistically) and has to wait for a flight window, and for a purely research mission three years seem to be a stretch.
    • I'm no expert and I don't know to what extent Jupiter has been explored in the Planetes universe, but the planet has a pretty big moon system, including Io, Europa, Ganymede & Callisto, the four biggest moons. Exploring and mapping them in detail it may take a while, specially with such a small crew, although I don't recall any reference to surface operations in the Von Braun mission neither in the manga nor the anime.
    • In the Anime as part of the announcement of the crew in episode 25 it's said the mission is 'Jovian system development', so it's likely it's not simple exploration and it's possible it will include things like setting up facilities for the continued exploitation of the moons and Jupiter itself.

  • Regarding the space-liner accident that sparks the interest in debris removal: who exactly thought it would be a good idea to put so many big glass windows on a shuttle full of untrained, unprotected passengers? It seems that many people were killed during the accident (including, almost certainly, Yuri's wife) because the bolt shattered one of the windows, thus instantly depressurizing the passenger compartment. The same bolt, it would seem, would have caused nearly as much damage if it had hit a part of the shuttles metal plating. You would think someone would point out eventually that maybe it's not a very good idea to fill a passenger shuttle with glaring structural weaknesses that would kill everybody for the sake of giving them a better view during the trip, right? I mean, this is space we are talking about her. It's a very dangerous environment, right now or 58 years from now...
    • I always thought it was a suborbital plane, not a shuttle.
      • It is a suborbital plane, at least in the anime. Yuri talks to his wife, and comments that she was worried about travelling on one.
      • For that matter, if it's suborbital, and the bolt is at the same altitude, then the bolt should also have a suborbital velocity, meaning unless it fell off another craft minutes before, it should long ago have fallen back to Earth.
      • Not necessary. "Suborbital" doesn't equal "ballistic", so the suborbital plane that enters an orbit and just deorbits before making a complete circle is perfectly plausible. And, for that matter, even ICBMscan climb to orbital altitudes — they just don't (usually) have the speeds to stay there.
      • It doesn't even need to have broken off another craft minutes before. Objects can be trapped in decaying orbits for years before friction with the atmosphere slows them down enough.
      • Actually, yes, a "suborbital" craft would be on a ballistic trajectory. "Suborbital" just means that the ship didn't have the right velocitynote  to orbit — it has nothing to do with altitude. It is perfectly possible to have an orbit at sea levelnote  and to have a suborbital trajectory that takes you past the moon's orbit and back. So, it is possible to have a suborbital plane and an orbiting bolt occupy the same altitude.
        But, regarding the original issue, I don't think that not having windows would have helped much. A 100-gram bolt, traveling at 7.5 km/sec, would impact with close to 3,000,000 J of energy. That's the equivalent of two and a half sticks of dynamite. Unless you made your spaceplane out of tank armor, I really don't think it would survive a direct hit, window or no window. (In fact, the window might have helped save lives, since the bolt would have flown through it and kept going, depositing less of its energy on the structure of the plane than if it had hit something more solid.)
        In fact, now that I think about it, the plane would have had to have been in orbit. Otherwise, the compass wouldn't have had the velocity to remain in orbit, and it would have fallen back to earth.
      • At orbital velocities, it doesn't actually make that much difference if it had hit a window or a steel surface. The ISS has windows as well. Windows are important for psychological stability.

  • So a stray bolt kills Yuri's wife; an seemingly inconsequential tiny object that caused mass damage. So what better way to see of his wife than releasing a single seemingly inconsequential tiny white flower...what? I know they justified it with "he's collected so much junk that he's allowed to put one more piece out there" but it seems ridiculous for Yuri to choose to do this in honour of his wife. It's like having an alcoholic drink and going on a drive on the anniversary of your wife being hit by a drunk driver; sure the chances of you killing somebody is low but it's hardly the thing to do.
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