China's New Space Robot Looks Like Iron Man

Will it actually go to Mars, or is this just a blatant PR stunt?


China is sending Iron Man to Mars! Or — wait, maybe only one of those things. Maybe none.

Last week China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, a top space contractor in China, unveiled a new robot the country hopes to send on upcoming space missions, and it just so happens to resemble Iron Man. It’s a humanoid robot painted metallic red and gold, and it even has a conspicuous little glowing emblem in its chest a la Tony Stark’s arc reactor. It looks like what Iron Man’s ex would date to try to get back at Iron Man.

Have a look for yourself:


Iron Man, right? No, silly, that’s, uh, “Xiaotian,” which translates to “Little Sky.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chinese state news agency Xinhua explained that the robot is capable of a series of “complex manipulation tasks” in lunar landings or missions to space stations or on unmanned probes.

The robot was unveiled at China’s 17th annual China International Industry Fair, where officials also unveiled a model of the country’s first Mars space probe that they hope to launch to the red planet by 2020.

But who cares about all that. Is this thing really going to go into space and does it actually look like Iron Man? Here’s the real deal:


While it would be cool to see a Tony Stark-like bot floating around and doing menial labor on other planets, it’s most likely bullshit. But extra points to the Chinese government for some good PR. Iron Man’s movies have grossed $121 million there, and he’s the most popular superhero character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As for the robot itself, the paint job is fairly spot on, and the arc reactor is a nice touch, but the helmet looks like it came off the rack at an off-brand Halloween superstore. Those exposed wires and lack of hands seem pretty dangerous as well.

We give the chances of this thing doing actual work in space at about the same odds that Iron Man and Batman will appear in a movie together.

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