It may have been a giant leap for robot-kind yesterday as NASA’s Robonaut shook hands in space with Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank on the International Space Station. “For the record, it was a firm handshake,” Burbank said. “Very nice. Nice job on the programming and all the engineering. Quite an impressive robot.”
Not only did the robot complete the historic first humanoid to human handshake in space, but Robonaut also sent its greetings to everyone on Earth by using sign language to say, “Hello World.”
Robonaut is designed to perform routine maintenance tasks aboard the space station to free up the astronauts for more important research tasks. You can see more capabilities of Robonaut in a video below where engineers put one of the Robonauts through its paces on a task board that mimics controls aboard the ISS.
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.