William Shatner’s Trip Into Space on Bezos’ Rocket Felt Like A Funeral
William Shatner, true to his Captain Kirk role, went where no man had gone before (or at least no one his age), but it turns out he may have been better off staying at home.
The Star Trek legend, who at 91 became the oldest person to fly to space when he took off in a rocket manufactured by Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space travel company last October, has since compared his trip to space to a burial.
The legendary science fiction author writes in his new book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder,” that his trip to the final frontier left him with “among the greatest sentiments of loss” he had ever experienced.
He said, “the contrast between the brutal coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below overwhelmed [him] with profound melancholy,” and that “the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us.”
He elaborated, saying, “Every day we are presented with the knowledge of greater damage of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and wildlife… things that have taken five billion years to develop, just to have humanity’s involvement wipe them out completely. A feeling of fear swept over me.
Instead of being a joyous occasion, my space flight left me feeling like I had attended a funeral.
On Sunday 9 October 2022, Variety reporter Marianne Williamson tweeted out an extract describing his realization, which was received with a wave of appreciation and sympathy from hundreds of Twitter users:
The negative effects of Shatner’s space voyage have been discussed before. In August, he told The Sunday Times, “When I climbed up there and could see the curvature of the Earth and the immense blackness surrounding it, it really hammered home how much we don’t know and how we’re gambling with the world.”
I kept thinking about the dreadful future my two-year-old great-grandson, Clive, will have to face.
His daughters warned him it was too risky, but his grandkids thought it would be awesome.
Shatner and the other four passengers took out from Van Horn, Texas, on a fully automated 60-foot New Shepard rocket. As the plane neared the edge of space, the actor and the other passengers felt the effects of weightlessness for the first time. The capsule descended with the help of a parachute after around 10 minutes in space.
The actor later called it “the most profound experience I can fathom.” After a successful landing, he told reporters that he had expected to feel weightlessness but was nevertheless taken aback by the stark contrast between Earth’s blue beauty and the blackness of space.
You’re staring down the black hole of black ugliness, he warned. When you look down, you see the blue; when you look up, you see the black; and in between, there is Mother Earth.
“That over there is death, and in an instant you realize, “whoa,” that’s death. That’s what I observed.”