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Space Robot Designed As Companion For Japanese Astronaut

Aug 5, 2013
Originally published on August 5, 2013 4:24 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Iron Man suit hasn't taken off yet, but Kirobo has already left for space.

KIROBO: (Foreign language spoken)

CORNISH: Kirobo is meant to be a companion for Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. It will also be able to communicate with another robot back on Earth, presumably if Kirobo and Wakata run out of things to talk about. Before the launch, Kirobo told reporters: One small step for me, a giant leap for robots. Well, for mankind's sake, we just hope Kirobo's personality is like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WALL-E")

CORNISH: And not this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.