William Shatner serves as a narrator for the 45-minute documentary, NASA Langley Turns 100, and why not. Even though William was never actually an astronaut, through Star Trek, Shatner’s Captain Kirk went “boldly” into the furthermost reaches of space.
Star Trek starring William Shatner was a major driving force for public interest in space travel because it was a hopeful vision for the future. William Shatner’s James T. Kirk exemplified a future where earthlings were “exploring new worlds.”
The science of William Shatner’s Star Trek was sound and in so many ways prophetic of technological developments seen today. At the same time, man kind still has a long way to go, before something like Captain Kirk’s Enterprise could reach the stars.
While Langley and NASA haven’t reached the stars, and in fact according to Space, NASA hasn’t sent a manned spacecraft out of the earth’s orbit yet, they are working toward that goal, with an emphasis on safety for the astronauts according to Daily Galaxy.
In Star Trek with William Shatner, the technology was already developed. NASA is working toward space technology development as safely as possible. Unmanned flights are currently exploring the universe far beyond earth. In the future, a Star Trek style space travel may be possible, due to their efforts. Meanwhile, air flight has seen major advancements that came from Langley.
William Shatner, now 86-years-old, is still more of a voice for the future than the past. William Shatner has always been forward thinking, perhaps because of Shatner’s role in Star Trek, and even now William is full of hope for the future.
Star Trek’s William Shatner explains early in the documentary that NASA comes from humble beginnings. In 1915 the US Congress authorized $5000 to fund the National Advisory Committee for Astronautics or NACA the forerunner of NASA. In those days it was about developing air planes.
Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory was constructed in 1917, a few months after the United States was faced with fighting Germany’s Air-Force in World War I. World Wars I and II drove the development of flight in the early days according to Space.
Star Trek with William Shatner heralded a new era for space travel in 1966. NASA was already working toward the goal of placing a man on the moon by 1969, and Americans were asking why. Why spend all that money going into space?
Star Trek showed ordinary Americans why, or at least a possible reason why America needed to engage in space exploration. Star Trek wasn’t about an earth invaded by superior aliens. William Shatner’s Kirk led an expedition that wasn’t about rag tag refugees fleeing an earth destroyed by pollution or war.
Star Trek was about peaceful exploration of the universe. Star Trek was about science, and it was hopeful for a brighter future, which sets it apart from other science-fiction. William Shatner was chosen for the role of James Kirk, perhaps because William Shatner convincingly portrayed an obvious winner.
William Shatner was an excellent choice to portray Captain James T. Kirk because of his all American look, his athletic physique and most of all his boldness and inner strength. William Shatner is now and has always been a driven individual with plans for the future.
Star Trek presented a future in space that Americans could get behind. NASA and to some extent the entire country benefited. For whatever reason, the 1960s and 1970s were probably the most hopeful time in American history. Perhaps it isn’t too hard to imagine that Star Trek with William Shatner played some role in that positive atmosphere.
NASA’s goals for this century include colonizing Mars with the assistance of Elon Musk’s SpaceX. That is a pretty Star Trek thing to do. Like William Shatner, Elon Musk is a bold thinker. For more on Elon Musk’s Mars Colonization, see this from the Inquisitr.
Today’s world will get another dose of Star Trek as well. A new series, StarTrek: Discovery is set to premiere its first season September 24 on CBS. A shroud of secrecy surrounds the plot according to TV Line.
RELATED REPORTS FROM THE INQUISITR
Anthony Rapp who portrays Lt. Starns on the new Star Trek series is quoted on TV Line comparing the new Star Trek: Discovery with William Shatner’s Star Trek.
“Part of the reason for the secrets… is because it’s the first time the story is going to keep evolving over the course of the season, so there’s a lot of twists and turns to the plot, whereas [on] old Star Trek, every episode was more self-contained.”
William Shatner’s Star Trek style space exploration continues on TV, as NASA casts its eyes on Mars colonization.
[Featured Image by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images]