China unveils a space robot that looks like Iron Man

China’s Iron Man-esque space robot Photo: Weibo

It looks like Iron Man might be leaving Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and heading to Mars — on behalf of the Chinese.

Last week, China’s top space industry contractor unveiled a new space robot that looks strikingly similar to the superhero played by Robert Downy Jr. in Marvel’s hit global film franchise. Painted in Iron Man’s signature metallic red and yellow, the Chinese robot even has a circular emblem in the middle of his chest where Tony Stark’s lifesaving “arc reactor” plugs in.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, the robot was built by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., the government’s leading space contractor. Named Xiaotian, which translates as “Little Sky,“ the humanoid bot is said to be capable of handling the "the harsh space environment and complex manipulation tasks.” It was designed for deployment in a variety of space settings, including lunar landings, space stations or aboard unmanned space probes. Another Chinese news site says the robot’s hands have dexterity comparable to human hands.

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Little Sky was debuted last Tuesday at Shanghai’s 17th annual China International Industry Fair, where the Chinese government also presented a model of its first Mars space probe, which the country plans to launch towards the Red Planet in 2020.

Iron Man is Marvel’s biggest performing superhero character in China. Iron Man 3 grossed $121 million there, while the Avengers films have earned over $320 million in China.


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