Japanese robonaut prepares to go where no robot...
Meet Mirata and Kirobo, a pair of Japanese robots who could help shape the future of space exploration.
The robots stand 34 centimetres (17 inches) tall and weigh around one kilogram (2.2 pounds) each.
Kirobo, whose name is derived from the Japanese word for hope, has the capacity to function in space.
The robot astronaut is scheduled to travel onboard the Kounotori 4 cargo spacecraft due to launch from the Tanegashima Space Centre on August 4, on a mission to the International Space Station.
Meanwhile, back-up crew member Mirata will be based on land.
The robots are able to engage in converation and developers hope that they will one day be able to assist astronauts working in space.
"The Russians were the first to go into space. The Americans were the first to land on the moon. I want Japan to be the first country to send a communication robot astronaut to space," said Yorichika Nishijima of Dentsu Inc, an advertising company collaborating on the project.
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