William Shatner‘s Captain Kirk is the epitome of calm under pressure. In Star Trek: The Original Series, his USS Enterprise explored the galaxy and faced off against countless deadly threats. But now Shatner is going to space for real… and he’s absolutely terrified.
It was announced earlier this week that the 91-year-old will become the oldest person to go into space when he blasts off aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket later this month. The ten-minute trip will take Shatner beyond the Karman Line, the internationally-recognized boundary of space about 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, and allow him to stare down at Earth from above.
Shatner has described the trip as a “miracle”, though his comments during a panel at the New York Comic-Con indicate he’s also very nervous. He mentioned that he can’t stop thinking about the 1986 Challenger crash and said:
“I’m thinking, ‘I’m going up in a rocket and our best guess is it should be fine? I’m terrified. I’m Captain Kirk, and I’m terrified. I’m not really terrified — yes I am. It comes and goes like a summer cold. I’m planning on putting my nose against the window [once I’m in space], and my only hope is I won’t see someone else looking back.”
He also revealed that this trip has been planned for a while:
“My friend Jason Erhlick came to me about a year and a half ago and he said he was seeing these rockets with people going into space. And, wouldn’t it be something if Captain Kirk went up there? And I said, ‘Jason, for God’s sake, man. Nobody cares if Captain Kirk goes to space. It was 55 years ago, man. But I’m doing well, maybe I should go up to space?”
While this is obviously a publicity stunt to secure good PR for Bezos’ often-criticized Blue Origin project, I still like the idea. First reactions saw many wondering if it’s really a good idea to strap a 91-year-old man to a giant rocket and blast him into space, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have agreed to do this unless they’d done the necessary medical tests to check he’d be okay.
Let’s hope we get some fun pictures of William Shatner in zero gravity as he explores the final frontier in person.