It's not the same as subspace radio, but Captain Kirk, on a Away Team mission (yes, yes, we are mixing Next Gen and TOS terms) has opened hailing frequencies with an astronaut in outer space. The Twitter exchange between William Shatner and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield took place on Thursday.
Shatner's (@WilliamShatner) tweet -- notably, he is a Canadian himself, said:
@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB
MBB, by the way, means "My Best, Bill."
Shortly thereafter, Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield), a mechanical engineer and retired colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces, tweeted a response back from the International Space Station (ISS), without even using Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) as an intermediary.
@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface
Hadfield will soon become Canada's first space commander. He launched into orbit in December aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Currently service as a flight engineer on the space station's six-man Expedition 34 crew, in March, he will take command of the ISS' Expedition 35 mission increment.
Officials with the Canadian Space Agency (@csa_asc) were quick to confirm to Shatner that Hadfield was, in fact, tweeting from space, with Shatner responding, "I'm very impressed!"
Shatner and Hadfield have met before -- sort of. The actor posed with a tiny paper version of the astronaut as part of a public outreach program for Hadfield's mission (image shown above). Hadfield joked about the "meeting," tweeting:
The last time @WilliamShatner and I met was in another dimension - 2D From @csa_asc contest - http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/missions/expedition34-35/photo-challenge/ …) http://pic.twitter.com/Y7tECNL7
These aren't the first tweets from space. Astronaut Mike Massimino was the first to tweet from orbit during the last space shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
For those who are aware of the fate of those wearing certain colored shirts on "Star Trek: The Originals Series," one of Hadfield's later tweets is surely humorous. Hadfield showed his knowledge of "Star Trek," or at least TOS with this post:
I'm proud of being Canadian, but after yesterday's twitter conversation am starting to question wearing this red shirt. http://pic.twitter.com/9iss6g0P
The image is in the slideshow above. Those aware of the fate of red-shirted crewmen on TOS are probably laughing. Notably, later series did not have the same tendency to kill off red-shirted crewmen.
Hadfield is due to return to Earth in mid-May.