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article imageJapan's robot astronaut docks at International Space Station

By Leigh Goessl     Aug 11, 2013 in Science
A robot launched into space last week from Japan safely docked at the International Space Station on Friday. The robot named "Kirobo" will now get to work.
Earlier in the month, Digital Journal reported on "Kirobo," the talking robot astronaut, which was readying to be launched into space. The launch from southern Japan's Tanegashima Space Center took place as expected on August 3, and according to RIA Novosti, the spacecraft landed as expected.
The robot traveled in an HTV-4 cargo ship and landed without incident.
Now the robot will get to work transferring messages between the International Space Station (ISS) and Earth. Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will be collecting the data.
"Kirobo" is equipped with both voice and facial-recognition technology. It stands 34 centimeters tall, which, in inches, is just over a foot tall. It dons an all-white attire with red boots.
RT reported the robot's design was inspired by the legendary "Astro Boy" in Japanese manga and anime.
The robot also brought along supplies and equipment to its human counterparts already manning the ISS.
According to RT, Wakata will follow on his own space journey come this November. He will be Japan's first ISS commander.
Wakata and Kirobo will be companions, and with the robot's biometric capabilities, it will be able to recognize and greet Wakata upon his arrival.
"The Kibo robot has a special mission: To help solve the problems brought about by a society that has become more individualized and less communicative...With a new style of robot-human interface, perhaps a way to solve this problem could be found," said a statement on the Kibo Robot Project website (courtesy RT).
A "twin" robot on Earth will also be communicating with Kirobo. That robot is known as "Mirata."
At a press event prior to its big launch, Kirobo told reporters, “One small step for me, a giant leap for robots.”
According to media reports, Kirobo is scheduled to stay in space until at least the end of 2014.
More about Japan, Robot, Iss, International Space Station
 
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