Astronauts Aboard the ISS Are Getting a Pet Robot Next Summer

The robot is designed to help out and keep company

By Lucian Parfeni on December 11th, 2012 17:24 GMT

Living aboard the International Space Station is already quite fun, apart from the grueling work and training schedule that is. If you're aboard the ISS though, chances are, you like that type of things anyway.

And it's about to get even better as astronauts there are to get a pet robot to play do experiments with.

Developed by several Japanese companies, obviously, the diminutive robot will respond to voice commands and will be able to perform simple tasks.

The robot doesn't have a name yet, but its creators are asking the public for suggestions. It will be 34 cm, 13 inches tall, and weigh about 1 kg or 2.2 pounds.

Two will be built, but only one is flying into space sometime next summer. The robot won't be involved in any actual experiments; it is the experiment in fact.

The goal, eventually, is to have robots helping astronauts with their daily tasks, but there still plenty of testing and development to get to that stage. This first robot will be a pioneer, helping researchers learn valuable lessons that could be put to good use for future, more complex models.
A concept drawing of the yet-to-be named robot that will fly to the ISS
   A concept drawing of the yet-to-be named robot that will fly to the ISS
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