We have made contact. For the first time, a human and a robot have shook hands in space and it wasn’t as bad as HAL9000 in Kubrick’s 2001 A Spacy Odyssey.
The commander of the ISS and Robonaut shook hands in orbit above Earth Wednesday. Robonaut is on board to see how robots can help with chores on board the ISS in the future and replace humans during spacewalks.
“For the record, it was a firm handshake,” Commander Daniel Burbank said. “Quite an impressive robot.”
Robonaut followed suit and tweeted that it was an “awesome experience” and made some sign language.
“The handshake was definitely one of the highlights of the day, but I’m not done yet,” Robonaut said in a tweet. (Robonaut’s Twitter handle is AstroRobonaut.)
“Did you catch that? I don’t have a voice, but I sent you a message — Hello world … in sign language!” Robonaut tweeted. “What a day! I passed my tests with flying colors!!!”
Dutch space station astronaut Andre Kuipers couldn’t resist a little robot humor.
“Now let’s hope he’s never heard of HAL9000, Skynet or Cylons,” Kuipers wrote in a tweet.