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NASA, European Space Agency perform first Earth-to-space handshake

Watch NASA Astronaut Terry Virts and ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele shake hands, despite Virts being stuck aboard the International Space Station.

The European Space Agency and NASA astronaut Terry Virts have broken new ground in Earth-to-space communications, proving that the International Space Station is just a robotic handshake away.

In a video posted to the ESA YouTube page on Friday, Earthlings were treated to the first handshake and force-feedback communication between Earth and the ISS. In the short clip, we see the ESA telerobotics team getting everything set up and troubleshooting some software issues with Terry Virts aboard the ISS. After reinstalling the software needed for the devices to communicate to each other, Virts and Netherlands-based ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele remotely shook hands for the first time.

It's not the first time we've seen this so called "space internet" type of communications technology on display. Back in August, for example, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst used a controller aboard the ISS to steer a rover on the ground in the Netherlands. Still, the whole thing is pretty impressive, and it's fun to see unique and innovative ways engineers and robotics specialists are demonstrating and testing this technology.

Now we'd like to see the ESA and NASA work on an Earth-to-space high five, or maybe an Earth-to-space fist bump so Earthlings and astronauts can communicate whatever informal greeting they want.