On the hunt for new resources, humans have made great strides in conquering parts of the galaxy. But no matter how advanced the technology, our mistrustful human natures come back to haunt us. On a space station orbiting earth, old wars threaten a project to bring new energy resources to the people, while on a newly-discovered planet the colonies of Eurasia and America-Europe seem incapable of working together to help each other survive. Can the ordinary people caught in the middle of these clashes of civilisations resist the tide of hate and show a new way for humanity to move forward into a peaceful future?
In the year 2075, humanity has spread to the stars, along with their technology, colonies, and... waste? At such great speeds in orbit, even a tiny bolt can cause a tragic disaster. Enter the team of the half division. Their job? To gather the garbage and debris that circles the Earth, in order to keep space safe. From broken-down satellites to bolts and nails, there's nothing that the underpaid and underappreciated staff can't salvage. Join Hachimaki, Tanabe, Fee, and the rest of the gang as they risk their lives to keep space clean, and keep their wallets... empty.
Both TO and Planetes are interesting treatments of the relationship between scientific progress and social responsibility. How much consideration should scientists give to the moral implications of their discoveries? After finding new sources of energy, who decides how it is distributed? And is it truly progress when, after getting into space, we merely continue our Earth battles in these new frontiers? Planetes has more scope to deal with the issue since it has twenty-six episodes to TO's two, but both are gorgeously animated and do their utmost to give full credit to the complexities of the themes.