PanOrient News reports that “The Japan-made robot astronaut Kirobo has become the first robot to speak in outer space, saying, ‘On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all’. Kibo Robot Project is a joint research project carried out between Dentsu Inc., the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), Robo Garage Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Corporation. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) also provided extensive assistance. JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station (ISS), is expected to arrive at his post in November or December this year. He will then take part in the world’s first conversation held between a person and a robot in outer space, an initiative designed to explore the possibilities of humans coexisting with robots in the future.”

The article continues, “The conversation will take place in the ISS’s Kibo Japanese Experiment Module. Kibo means hope in Japanese. Kirobo was transported to the ISS aboard the Kounotori 4 cargo transfer vehicle atop H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 4, launched early in the morning of August 4 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. Kirobo arrived at the station six days later. Along with its ground crew counterpart Mirata, Kirobo is one of two humanoid communication robots developed under the Kibo Robot Project.”

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Image: Courtesy Kibo Robot Project