On Sunday, August 4th, the newest member of the International Space Station blasted off from Tanegashima Space Center.
As opposed to the usual bevy of scientists conducting experiments in microgravity, Kirobo’s mission is to chat up the squishier members of the crew. Measuring less than 14” tall, Kirobo is part of the Kibo Robot Project. The project’s ultimate goal is “To help solve the problems brought about by a society that has become more individualized and less communicative.” They explain that, “Nowadays, more and more people are living alone. It’s not just the elderly – with today's changing lifestyles, it’s people of all ages.” The Kibo Project aims to create a small, mechanical companion for such people.
In an act of indignation that will surely become a rallying call of mechanamen everywhere during the Robopocalyse of 2525, Kirobo traveled to the ISS via a cargo transfer vehicle and will remain packed away until the experiment’s start in November when fleshy astronaut Koichi Wakata arrives.