Even after all those years aboard the Starship Enterprise,
enthusiasm for worlds beyond has apparently not diminished. On Wednesday the 90-year-old actor became the oldest man in space—and on his return showed a sense of raw wonder that would do Captain
James Tiberius Kirk
“What you have given me is the most profound experience,” he told
and Blue Origin, the private space company behind Wednesday’s trip. “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just, it’s extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this.”
Good for him. In the days of his TV series, the government ran all space exploration. Today new paths are being blazed by private entrepreneurs. In addition to Mr. Bezos, others now funding space efforts include
It’s the beginning of a new era in space tourism, and probably exploration and commerce.
Mr. Shatner’s transition from an actor playing a space explorer to a real-life space explorer has been fodder for many a laugh as pop-culture marketing. But the flight risk was real enough. Mr. Bezos says he was partly inspired to found Blue Origin because of his childhood enthusiasm for “Star Trek.”
As a result, what was once science fiction has become reality. We salute Mr. Bezos and Mr. Shatner and his three companions aboard that rocket for reminding us that dreams really can come true. Live long and prosper.
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Appeared in the October 14, 2021, print edition as ‘Welcome Home, Captain Kirk.’