Japan's adorable robot astronaut says hello from space

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Kirobo, the world’s first red-boot wearing robot astronaut, has sent its first video-recorded space message from the International Space Station back to earth. The little automaton was launched into space on August 4 and the video was recorded on August 21, but now we can see it in all of its adorable glory talking in space. 

The video debuted as part of Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics. It was presented during a meeting with top-level honchos in Buenos Aires, who will decide where the legendary sporting event will be held.

Built by a medley of companies and scientists, the 13-inch tall, Japanese-speaking robot will assist commander Koichi Wakata when he heads up to the International Space Station later this year.

Designed to recognize speech, faces and to record video, little Kirobo (which is a portmaneau of  the words "kibō" (希望), meaning "hope" in Japanese, and the word "robo" (ロボ), a generic short word for any robot) can be seen floating around in zero-gravity in the video as he sends earthlings a special message. He wishes everyone on earth a good morning, introduces himself like any polite robot would, and sends his backup robot pal, Mirata, an awesome space-shot of himself. (Perfect for his Facebook fan page default, no?)

Kirobo’s ultimate goal, as described on it’s website’s vision page, is to “help solve the problems brought about by a society that has become more individualized and less communicative.” It goes on to imply that the successful integration of the “robot-human interface” would solve this aforementioned problem. So basically, make us more social by having us talk to robots instead of people. Yea, that’ll definitely make us more social, right?

Scientists hope to use robots like Kirobo in the future to assist astronauts on space missions, most likely with recording video, taking photos and basically provide in-cabin entertainment while all the other astronauts catch water orbs with their mouths (drinking from a water bottle all the time is so, so normal). The robots will be part of a study analyzing how a non-human companion can possibly give emotional support for humans who are isolated over long periods.

Kirobo arrived at the International Space Station on August 10 and will stay in space till December 2014, according to Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Via Sky News and The Telegraph