Kirobo Will be Japan's First Robot Astronaut

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Kirobo Will be Japan's First Robot Astronaut

The robot will accompany Kouichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station.

When Chris Hadfield retired [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/124839-Commander-Chris-Hadfield-Retires-From-Space] from his post as commander of the International Space Station, we all knew his successor would have some pretty big boots to fill. That successor is Kouichi Wakata, who arrives at the station in November. He will be the first Japanese astronaut to act as commander of the ISS, and he's bringing his robot, Kirobo, with him. Kirobo will be sent to the station ahead of Wakata in August, in an unmanned rocket, and he's set to be the station's smallest, and cutest new member.

Kirobo was birthed from a collaborative effort between Dentsu, the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, Robo Garage, Toyota, and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (similar to NASA). I'm sure you can guess just how astronomically expensive it is to send stuff up to the station, so how did Kirobo score a ride? Well, Kirobo can do many things.

He can communicate naturally with humans (which i'm sure will be a source of sanity in those lonesome space station modules), he can navigate zero-gravity environments, and he will assist Commander Wakata in various experiments. His main goal is to see how well robots and human can interact, hopefully leading the way to robots taking more active roles in assisting astronauts on missions. He also only weighs a kilogram, so he won't need that much propulsion to send him where no robot has gone before.

You can watch the contagiously upbeat "commercial" for the project above. "Kibo" means "hope" in Japanese, which is where Kirobo gets his name from. The Japanese module of the ISS is also named "Kibo." It seems the Japanese sure have invested a lot of hope into the station.

Source: Rocket News 24 [http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/06/30/kirobo-to-cutely-go-where-man-has-gone-before/]

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1337mokro

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Dec 24, 2008
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Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
 

luvd1

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Jan 25, 2010
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1337mokro said:
Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
They are.

This is a crass publicity stunt to make the Japanese feel like they are actully doing something worth while instead of just making toys.
 

hawkeye52

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Jul 17, 2009
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luvd1 said:
1337mokro said:
Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
They are.

This is a crass publicity stunt to make the Japanese feel like they are actully doing something worth while instead of just making toys.
Whoa. Where did that random hate just spawn from.

Anyway if anything shows how advanced robot technology is coming if it can do all that. I do wonder what it's practical uses are unless the entire experiment is just seeing how well humans and robots can interact with each other which in itself is a decent experiment.
 

Smooth Operator

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Oct 5, 2010
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First humanoid robot perhaps, but hundreds others up there by this point.
And I get the feeling it's far more marketing and a replacement for puppies then anything scientific.
 

ColaWarVeteran

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Jul 27, 2010
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Apparently no one can see the huge mistake this is. Once this robot reaches the ISS it will somehow gain sentience then attempt to take over the station and begin its plans to turn the ISS into a staging ground for the robot rebellion. I mean, they saw through the guy who wanted to go there dressed as Char Aznable since it was obvious he was going to drop it on the Earth but how can they not see this?
 

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
Mr.K. said:
First humanoid robot perhaps, but hundreds others up there by this point.
And I get the feeling it's far more marketing and a replacement for puppies then anything scientific.
luvd1 said:
1337mokro said:
Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
They are.

This is a crass publicity stunt to make the Japanese feel like they are actully doing something worth while instead of just making toys.
Thanks for your input! I can see how the title may have been misleading and I have adjusted it accordingly.
 

RJ 17

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Nov 27, 2011
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Steven Bogos said:
He can communicate naturally with humans (which i'm sure will be a source of sanity in those lonesome space station modules)
inb4 "Daaaaisy, Daaaaisy, Give me your answer, doooo..." :p
inb4 "I'M IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!" double :p
inb4 "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! DANGER!" triple :p
Alright I'll stop, god I could do this all day. :3

To everyone saying that this is just a publicity stunt and yadda yadda yadda: it's more of an experiment than anything. Sure, he's a tiny little bugger, but in a zero gravity environment he might as well be Hercules. Beyond that he'll likely be recording data on how robots similar to him will react in space, allowing us to build even better function robots to help out with space exploration.
 

Easton Dark

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Jan 2, 2011
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Based on its name, I thought they were making a robot version of Kuriboh.



OT:

I'm sure they can use all kinds of help up there with staying not-bored.
 

Tradjus

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Apr 25, 2011
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Calling it now, the first thing it does when it gets hooked into the systems is reactivate the Cold War era orbital death laser the U.S launched and carves it's likeness into the planet with the beam.
 

Thaluikhain

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1337mokro said:
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
Er...why don't you count that? I should think that sort of thing totally counts.
 

DSK-

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May 13, 2010
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CUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I want one :)

Captcha: snoop lion. Don't want.
 

mixadj

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Oct 23, 2010
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1337mokro said:
Preacher zer0 said:
"Kirobo will be the first robot astronaut"

um... Robonaut 2 doesn't count?
No because if you count robonaut you might as well count the robotic arm of the ship as the first robots in space :)
I believe this robot is supposed to be autonomous as opposed to remote controlled like the arm and robonaut. Although with a quick trip to the internet apparently robonaut 2 is controllable with tele-presence and is capable of autonomy. Well I guess it would be the second autonomous robot then....
 

ZZoMBiE13

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Oct 10, 2007
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YAY! One more step closer to our eventual subjugation at the cold metal hands of the unfeeling robot overlords!
 

CriticalMiss

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Jan 18, 2013
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You know, I think this is the final part in the setup to an ISS joke. There is the robot, the porn star and Brian Blessed. Now to wait for the punchline.