How will Japanese robot provide emotional support to the astronauts?

The world’s first robot astronaut is pining for a conversation partner as he waits for Japanese spaceman Koichi Wakata aboard the International Space Station. “Mr. Wakata, are you not here yet? I really want to see you soon,” the pint-sized android said in a message released by its project team in Japan Wednesday. The wide-eyed […]
The world’s first robot astronaut is pining for a conversation partner as he waits for Japanese spaceman Koichi Wakata aboard the International Space Station. “Mr. Wakata, are you not here yet? I really want to see you soon,” the pint-sized android said in a message released by its project team in Japan Wednesday. The wide-eyed and bootie-wearing “Kirobo” — roughly the size of a chihuahua — left Earth on a cargo-carrying rocket and reached the space station on August 10. Wakata along with Mikhail Tyurin of Russia and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio will be aboard the Soyuz-FG rocket which set off from Kazakhstan at 0414 GMT on Thursday for a six-hour journey to the ISS. Kirobo, which stands just 13.4 inches tall and weighs about 2.2 pounds, is programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep records of its conversations with Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to command the ISS. The robot is part of a study aimed at seeing how a non-human companion can provide emotional support for people isolated over long periods.


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