Half a century ago, a TV show told young people that space travel would be the greatest thing ever. Some of them are even inspired to work towards that goal. Science fiction met reality on Wednesday when one of those fans, now one of the richest people in the world, brought the show’s lead actor into the fold.
The mission went according to plan. The after-effects do not seem to be described, and all the better for it.
William Shatner, eternally famous for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the original “Star Trek,” returns to Earth seemingly moved by the unfathomable experience. His ride on Jeff Bezos’ rocket could be seen as a publicity stunt, but gliding over the edge of the sky leaves the actor full of awe mixed with anxiety:
Unbelievable… To see the blue cover go by. And now you are staring into the darkness. That’s the thing. The enveloping blue, this sheet, this blanket, the pleasant blue that we have all around us. We say, ‘Oh, that’s the blue sky.’ And then suddenly you shoot through it and suddenly, like you yank the sheets off your bed while you’re sleeping, you’re looking into the darkness.
Mr. Shatner was talking to Mr. Bezos shortly after getting out of the capsule with three other passengers. Others greet their family and friends. The champagne cork popped out. There was a lot of laughter, a sense of relief. But Mr. Shatner, a 90-year-old standing in the West Texas bush, said of space as the final frontier:
You look down, there’s blue down there, and black over there. There is Mother and Earth and comfort and there… Is there death? I do not know. Is that death? Is that the way to die? Whoop and it’s gone. Oh my God. It was very touching for me.
Mr. Bezos listened, still like a statue. Maybe he just gave Mr. Shatner a bit of space, but it was a stark contrast to how he looked after his brief July flight when he flew on the same spacecraft with Mr. Shatner. He then stepped off the stage, drawing criticism from critics of the vast company he founded as he thanked Amazon employees and customers for helping him fund the project. your private space.
Or maybe Mr. Bezos is just acting spontaneously. His role model has always been the cold, unpassionate Mr. Spock rather than the impulsive, emotional Captain Kirk. Amazon, the award-winning company above all, was conceived and run on this concept.
Mr. Bezos said that when he played “Star Trek” as a boy, he would sometimes take on the role of the ship’s computer. Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated speaker is designed as a home version of the “Star Trek” computer, with answers to every question.