Japan to send tweeting humanoid robot to space

19 Feb 2011

A Japanese space agency may send a humanoid robot that can use Twitter to the International Space Station.

JAXA said the robot would watch the mission when astronauts slept and would monitor their health and stress levels.

It would have the ability to talk with humans on board the ISS to provide “comfort and companionship” and could communicate with Earth via Twitter by feeding photos of the ship.

“We are thinking in terms of a very human-like robot that would have facial expressions and be able to converse with the astronauts,” said JAXA’s Satoshi Sano to the Associated Press.

Robonaut R2

Robonaut R2 reading Spaceflight magazine

This would follow the Robonaut R2 program. The dexterous robot – whose name was inspired by Star Wars droid R2-D2 – was built at NASA Johnson Space Centre to help humans work in space.

While Robonaut R2 can user Twitter, these messages are mainly from NASA spokespeople. JAXA hopes its robot could utilise the social networking service differently.

JAXA also hopes its their robot will be more communicative than Robonaut R2.

The humanoid robot is planned to reach the ISS in 2013.