In an orbital first, a robot has held its own in a conversation with an astronaut.
Launched to space on Aug. 3 on a Japanese H-2B rocket, the cute little robot in the center of an experiment into human-robot relations became a sensation. But after five months in space, the pint-sized Kirobo has only just been allowed to speak.
ANALYSIS: Cute Robots Will Be Launched Into Space
In a cool video released by the Japanese space agency (JAXA), an entire conversational experiment on Dec. 6 was captured between JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Kirobo. Apart from a few uncomfortable silences, it seems Kirobo's autonomous conversation functions performed admirably.
When Wakata said that he was looking forward to meeting Kirobo, the small robot replied: "I really wanted to meet you, too." When he inquired about how Kirobo got into space, it replied: "On the Kounotori from Tanegashima Space Center." But so there wasn't any confusion, after Wakata reaffirmed his question that the little robot had traveled on board the Kounotori (the Japanese-built robotic cargo spaceship H-II Transfer Vehicle), Kirobo clarified: "Not the bird, of course! A rocket." Kounotori means "white stork" in Japanese.