On earth, Japan's economy remains foundered, and its politicians all too subject to worldly frailty. But in the heavens, the country is taking immeasurable leaps and bounds. The Japanese space program confirmed on June 10 it had unfurled the first interplanetary solar sail, powering its spacecraft IKAROS. While in Greek myth the wings of Icarus melted from flying too close to the sun, IKAROS will use the force of the sun's particles hitting its sails to hurtle millions of miles toward Venus. If all goes to plan, it will be the first spacecraft to maneuver without fuel. Then just three days later after a seven-year, 4 billion mile odyssey the asteroid lander Hayabusa ejected a small container before burning up in the skies over Australia. That capsule, which fell safely to the outback dust on June 13, likely contains the first pieces of an asteroid ever brought back to earth, providing clues to the history of the solar system and our planet. To toast such cosmic exploits, a Japanese sakemaker has made a special Hayabusa-edition rice wine. We hear it's stellar.