Jetsons: Japan's Kirobo has become the first robot to speak in outer space
Japan's Kirobo robot takes 'one small step'
The designers of the android – which has been developed in Japan to serve as a companion during extended explorations of space in the future – have released pictures of Kirobo floating in the International Space Station.
"On August 21, 2013, a robot took one small step toward a brighter future for all," the diminutive android said.
Kirobo, which takes its name from the Japanese words for "hope" and "robot," was built by a consortium of companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., Dentsu Corp. and Robo Garage Co., working with scientists from the University of Tokyo's Centre for Advanced Science and Technology and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Kirobo was launched from Japan's Tanegashima Space Centre on August 4 and docked with the ISS six days later.
The android will welcome Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese commander of the ISS, when he arrives aboard in November or December.
Standing just over 13 inches tall and weighing in at 2.2lbs, Kirobo will be able to recognise Wakata's facial features and is designed to communicate in Japanese and take photos.
After Wakata has completed his six-month stay aboard the ISS, the robot will stay behind to send messages to schools in Japan and around the world.
It will be able to post messages on Twitter and other social media sites, take pictures within the Kibo research module on the ISS, Japan's contribution to the international project, and of the Earth from outer space...