Capt Kirk, Canadian astronaut swap tweets... and prosper

Capt Kirk, Canadian astronaut swap tweets... and prosper

"@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space? MBB," William Shatner -- who signs his Twitter messages with shorthand for "my best, Bill" -- asked Chris Hadfield, mission specialist on the International Space Station.

"@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface," replied Hadfield, who arrived at the space station on December 21 for a five-month stint.

Hadfield was presumably referring to Earth, as he has been using Twitter to beam back compelling images of landscapes as diverse as the Sahara desert and snow-covered western Canadian cities.

The Canadian Space Agency, situated just outside Shatner's hometown Montreal, got into the act as well, offering to arrange a live chat between the actor and the astronaut.

Star Trek fans meanwhile reveled at the exchange. "Looks like @WilliamShatner has opened a hailing frequency to the #ISS and @Cmdr_Hadfield answered! #cool," tweeted space and science blogger Jason Major.