News Summary: Robot ready for outer space

World's first conversational robot-astronaut to be launched from Japan this summer

Associated Press

TIME TO LEAVE THE CAPSULE: The world's first space conversation between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," demonstrated the humanoid robot's conversational skills. Kirobo is scheduled to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013.

CAN YOU HEAR ME? "Russia was the first to go outer space, the U.S. was the first to go to the moon, we want Japan to be the first to send a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans," said Yorichika Nishijima, the Kirobo project manager.

SITTING IN A TIN CAN: It is hoped that robots like Kirobo will eventually be used to assist astronauts working in space. Because Kirobo does not need to perform physical activities, it is smaller than most robots that go into space. Kirobo is about 13 inches long and weighs about 2.2 pounds.

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