We’ve all gotten calls from people who have misdialed, drunk-dialed or butt-dialed, but not many of us can say we’ve accidentally gotten a call from an astronaut trying to make contact from the International Space Station.
British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake accidentally dialed the wrong number while making an in-flight outgoing call from the ISS on Christmas Eve but ended up reaching a stranger who probably thought the whole incident was an elaborate prank. Peake shared the happening on Twitter, tweeting “I’d like to apologise to the lady I just called by mistake.”
The 43-year-old former army helicopter pilot, who’s spending six months aboard the ISS, has shared a lot of other space moments with fans on Twitter. These include showing off the perfect weightless twirl, snapping photos of Earth from his breathtaking vantage point, tweeting photos of a glowing space greenhouse and posting footage of new spacewalks.
He also posted images of what it’s like to celebrate Christmas on the space station complete with stockings hung with care. Peake is even planning on running in the London marathon from space.
As NASA Flight Director Holly Ridings has explained, ISS astronauts can phone home whenever they want. “They actually have an IP phone, which works functionally through a computer,” she told the site Space Answers. “It’s kind of like ‘Space Skype.’ They can call any phone in the world if they have the right satellite coverage.”
We can only imagine what it was like for someone to get a call from Peake from the ISS. But we now know to respond if someone phones us with the message “Is this planet Earth?” We’ll say “yes!”
With Christmas over, Peake and ISS companions Tim Kopra and Scott Kelly on Monday shared their New Year’s plans from space with the Houston media. You can watch the video of that exchange below.