Mission Accomplished: Robot Astronaut Kirobo Returns to Earth

Feb 13, 2015 8:05 AM ET
Multimedia with summary

Kirobo, a tiny talking robot, has made history for robotkind.
After an impressive 18 months on board the International Space Station, humanoid communication robot Kirobo returned to Earth as a passenger on SpaceX’s CRS-5 Dragon cargo supply spacecraft, which successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean earlier yesterday.

Standing only 34 centimeters tall and weighing around a kilogram, Kirobo might seem an unlikely candidate for a marathon spaceflight. To the founding partners of the Kibo Robot Project, however, boldly sending a pint-sized android astronaut into space is an important first step toward understanding how humans and robots might interact in space in the future. The project is the result of collaboration between:

  • Tokyo-based communications firm Dentsu Inc.
  • The University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST)
  • Kyoto-based Robo Garage Co., Ltd.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation
  • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

RCAST and Robo Garage worked on hardware and body movement, with Toyota providing voice-recognition technology and Dentsu handling conversation content as well as overall project management.

For more details about Kirobo's mission, go to: http://newsroom.toyota.co.jp/en/detail/6035471/