While Huey, Duey and Louis were the three charming little robots on the American Airlines’ “Valley Forge” spaceship in the seminal eco-science fiction film, Silent Running (1972), now the International Space Station is set to receive its own third robot – one which was made in Japan.
The Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata will have a robot companion accompanying him on his trip to the space station on 4 August. The new robot called Kirobo is only around a third of metre tall but has all four limbs and can walk and even talk, though to most of the crew he will be as unintelligable as Star Wars’ robot R2D2 as he will be speaking Japanese.
The International Space Station already has two robots, the spider-like Dextre robot on the outside of the station, and themore conventional looking if legless robot Robonaut 2 inside (dubbed by us at Hyperbola as “Dougie” after Douglas Bader, the famous legless wartime fighter pilot).
A video of the robot Kirobo is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23076297