Japan sent a talking robot to space

7:00 PM on 08.14.2013

Tim Sheehy

Contributor

and no, it's not Astro Boy.

In a move that could only be described as either totally awesome or fiscally irresponsible, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency -- or JAXA for short -- has delivered a talking robot to the International Space Station. It's purpose? To provide company and ease the burden of isolation felt by the astronauts who occupy the station over extended periods of time -- specifically Koichi Iwada, an astronaut who set to take command of the station in due time. Kirobo, as the robot has become known, will be able to recognize Iwada on sight and will record their interactions.

On one hand, this is kind of awesome, but on the other, I question whether or not it'll really keep him from feeling isolated. I can't even begin to imagine how vast and empty it must feel to be stuck floating through space in such a cramped capsule, even if you're just orbiting the Earth. Also, yes, if you're wondering they did model the robot after Astro Boy. Pretty cool, right?

[news via cnet]

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