Talking Robot Says Goodbye to Astronaut

By: APTN/CBS
By: APTN/CBS
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata bid farwell to an unusual colleague, a robot named Kirobo, in video released on Tuesday as the astronaut prepared to leave the International Space Station after a six month mission.

Kirobo will be launched into space in August on a Japan aerospace exploration agency (JAXA) space rocket and head to the International Space Station (ISS). (Courtesy: RTV/CBS)

Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata bid farwell to an unusual colleague, a robot named Kirobo, in video released on Tuesday as the astronaut prepared to leave the International Space Station after a six month mission.

As part of his mission, Wakata held experiments on robot-human conversations with Kirobo, the first talking humanoid in space.

The video, released by the developers of Kirobo, showed Wakata apologising for leaving his robotic companion alone in space.

In a deadpan reply Kirobo said, "Don't worry, I suppose there's not enough space for me", and added "I'll be alright, I'm a robot."

Kirobo is programmed to process questions and select words from its vocabulary to construct an answer, instead of giving pre-programmed responses.

Wakata and Kirobo spoke for the first time on December 6 last year.

The creator of the robot, Tomotaka Takahashi, said he felt exhilarated when he saw Kirobo float in space for the first time and called the experiment "a milestone".

The project is a joint endeavour between Takahashi and the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, advertising agency Dentsu and car manufacturer Toyota.

Wakata will wrap-up his mission in space on Tuesday, during which he also served as the first Japanese commander aboard the space station.

Kirobo is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of this year.

The two promised to talk again, back on Earth.


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