New video from the spaceship shows the 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor gazing in awe at Earth below.
Shatner spent decades portraying the cosmos-exploring commander Captain James T. Kirk in “Star Trek.” On Wednesday morning, the TV star had his own cosmic adventure into space when he lifted off aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket and soared 62 miles above Earth, to the edge of space. The journey made him the oldest person ever reach space.
At the peak of the 11-minute flight, Shatner and the ship's three other passengers – the former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, the healthcare entrepreneur Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers – experienced about three minutes of weightlessness and saw the curvature of Earth below.
Blue Origin shared video from those moments of weightlessness on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. Cameras inside the space capsule recorded as the passengers unbuckled from their seats and drifted around.
“This is nuts!” Powers exclaimed. “Holy hell.”
While the other passengers flipped and floated around, Shatner just gripped the edge of a window and gazed at the Earth below.
“No description can equal this,” he said.
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Still, once the capsule had parachuted back to Earth and landed safely, Shatner tried to describe it – particularly the thin line of Earth's atmosphere.
“Look at the beauty of that color. And it's so thin. And you're through it in an instant,” he told Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. “Suddenly, you're through the blue, and you're into black.”
Shatner added: “You're looking into blackness, into black ugliness. And you look down – there's the blue down there and the black up there. There is Mother Earth and comfort, and there is – is there death? I don't know. Is that death? Is that the way death is?”
At one point during his post-flight reflection, he covered his face and wiped away tears.
Many astronauts who've seen Earth from space have described overwhelming feelings of awe, unity with the rest of humanity, and an appreciation for the fragility of our planet. Experts call this the “overview effect.”
“I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's extraordinary,” Shatner told Bezos. “I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it.”
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