Human and humanoid robot shake hands in space 1st

Feb 15, 2012 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
The Robonaut 2.

Astronauts and robots have united in space with a healthy handshake.

The commander of the , Daniel Burbank, shook hands Wednesday with Robonaut. It's the first handshake ever between a human and a in space.

NASA's Robonaut was launched aboard last February. Crews have been testing it to see how it one day might help astronauts perform space station chores.

On Wednesday, ground controllers activated computer software that enabled the robot to extend its right hand, fingers outstretched. Burbank took the mechanical hand and pumped it up and down, as the robot's fingers tightened around his hand.

"The first human-humanoid handshake in space," Burbank proclaimed.

A cheer went up in the control room in Huntsville, Ala.

"For the record, it was a firm handshake," Burbank radioed. "Quite an impressive robot."

Robonaut - the first humanoid in space, built from the waist up - said via that it was an awesome experience, then followed up with 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. (A NASA spokeswoman actually files the under the handle 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.

HAL was the conspiring computer in "2001: A Space Odyssey." The people-hating Skynet is from the "Terminator" films, while Cylons are cyber-warriors from "Battleship Gallactica."

spends most of its time in hibernation aboard the space station. The astronauts bring the humanoid out every so often for testing; it was awakened in space last August and made its first motion in October. A future model could venture outside for spacewalks, saving its human companions time and keeping them safe.

Explore further: Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

More information: NASA: http://robonaut.jsc.nasa.gov/default.asp

4.2 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA's humanoid robot unveiled on space station

Mar 16, 2011

The first humanoid robot ever launched into space is finally free. Astronauts at the International Space Station unpacked Robonaut on Tuesday, 2 1/2 weeks after its arrival via shuttle Discovery. NASA broadcast ...

Image: Face-Off

Nov 02, 2010

Robonaut 2, a dexterous, humanoid astronaut helper, will fly to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery on the STS-133 mission.

Recommended for you

Cassini sees sunny seas on Titan

21 hours ago

(Phys.org) —As it soared past Saturn's large moon Titan recently, NASA's Cassini spacecraft caught a glimpse of bright sunlight reflecting off hydrocarbon seas.

Is space tourism safe or do civilians risk health effects?

Oct 30, 2014

Several companies are developing spacecraft designed to take ordinary citizens, not astronauts, on short trips into space. "Space tourism" and short periods of weightlessness appear to be safe for most individuals ...

An unmanned rocket exploded. So what?

Oct 30, 2014

Sputnik was launched more than 50 years ago. Since then we have seen missions launched to Mercury, Mars and to all the planets within the solar system. We have sent a dozen men to the moon and many more to ...

NASA image: Sunrise from the International Space Station

Oct 30, 2014

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this image of a sunrise, captured from the International Space Station, to social media on Oct. 29, 2014. Wiseman wrote, "Not every day is easy. Yesterday was a tough one. ...

Copernicus operations secured until 2021

Oct 30, 2014

In a landmark agreement for Europe's Copernicus programme, the European Commission and ESA have signed an Agreement of over €3 billion to manage and implement the Copernicus 'space component' between 2014 ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.