Star Trek legend William Shatner now regrets his record-breaking space flight
William Shatner made headlines in 2021 when he became the oldest person ever to go into space as part of a group of notable individuals for the experience of a lifetime. Shatner spoke about the experience immediately after the fact and seemed to be profoundly overwhelmed by the experience. It was clear that it shook him up, but we would have no idea how lasting or how impactful it was of a trip, until 2022.
Writing an op-ed for The Guardian, Shatner now details his regret for taking the flight, but not for any obvious reason you may have. As Shatner writes;
"While I was looking away from Earth, and turned towards the rest of the universe, I didn’t feel connection; I didn’t feel attraction. What I understood, in the clearest possible way, was that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, of adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing home planet.This was an immensely powerful awakening for me. It filled me with sadness. I realised that we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside. I played my part in popularising the idea that space was the final frontier. But I had to get to space to understand that Earth is, and will remain, our only home. And that we have been ravaging it, relentlessly, making it uninhabitable.…I worry about the world my grandchildren will be living in when they are my age. My generation is leaving them a planet that might pretty soon be barely livable for many of Earth’s inhabitants. My experience in space filled me with sadness, but also with a strong resolve. I don’t want my grandchildren to simply survive. I want them, as an old friend used to say, to be able to live long and prosper."
William Shatner’s legacy should focus on his environmentalism, not on lingering feuds
Reading Shatner’s words about wanting to do right by his grandchildren and lamenting over the failings of protecting our planet is a very human, very relatable sentiment. One most of us share. Shatner can be such a beacon of hope, it’s a shame that we get fewer of these sincere moments, ones filled with a strive to do better, and are more inundated with him and George Takei’s never-ending feud.
Both men, to some degree, have claimed they’re done talking about the other but like the sun setting, we know that detente won’t last forever.
Still, if Shatner spans his remaining years advocating for a better Earth and a better tomorrow, then maybe his legacy won’t be overshadowed by the pettiness that has consumed his relationships with his Star Trek colleagues.
We all would like to remember Shatner at his best and this may be the way to ensure that.