Japan To Send First Robot Astronaut Into Space

Set for a launch date of August 4, 2013, A little robot will become the first robotic astronaut as it is sent into space in order to perform communication experiments between humans and a robot in space. The little, 34 centimeter tall robot is named "Kirobo".

The robot will be launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan aboard a H-IIB launch vehicle that will be heading to the International Space Station.

Scientists hoping that the results of the experiment will improve work efficiency as well as give the human astronauts someone to chat with. The robot uses voice recognition software in order to respond to questions from humans.

Kirobo was developed by Toyota Motor Corp., Dentsu Inc., the University of Tokyo and venture firm Robo Garage Co.

The video below is in Japanese, but for those who don't speak the language you can at least see the little guy in action.