Kirobo, the world’s first talking astronaut robot, is waiting for its conversation partner, Japanese spaceman Koichi Wakata, aboard the International Space Station.
“Mr. Wakata, are you not here yet? I really want to see you soon,” the Chihuahua-sized android said in a message released by its project team in Japan on Wednesday.
The small robot left Earth on a cargo-carrying rocket and got to the ISS on August 10.
“Good morning to every one of you people on Earth. I am robot astronaut Kirobo. I am the world’s first talking robot astronaut. Nice to meet you,” the automaton said in Japanese.
The robot was created by advertising firm Dentsu, the University of Tokyo, robot developer Robo Garage and Toyota. Kirobo is part of a study aimed to see how a company that is not human can create emotional comfort for people who are isolated for a long time.
The talking robot stands just 34 centimetres tall and weighs about one kilogram. It is programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep records of its conversations with Wakata, the international press reports.
Wakata (50), who works for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, will be the first Japanese astronaut to lead a human space mission.
“It means a lot to Japan to have its own representative to command the International Space Station,” Wakata said. “It is a big milestone for Japan … to have this experience,” he added.