A Japanese rocket – bound for the International Space Station – has blasted off with a very special onboard. It is not only carrying supplies, but a talking humanoid robot as well. Kirobo is the first piece of technology of its kind to visit the floating laboratory. The mission of the robot, which has a double called the Mirata, is to be a companion for a Japanese astronaut aboard the space station. Kirobo speaks Japanese, records conversations and will play a role in some missions. It is hoped the robot’s out of this world experience will open up a new chapter in space communication.