William Shatner returned to Earth “overwhelmed” by the value of life on our planet, he said in a recent interview.
The actor and comedian, best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in “The Original Series” of “Star Trek” (1966 to 1969, and several films), was the main crew member on the NS-18 suborbital flight. from Blue Origin that launched and landed on Wednesday (Oct 13).
In an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Thursday (October 14), Shatner said he was “overwhelmed” with the view from the New Shepard spacecraft window and what he perceived as a contrast between “life” in the Earth and the “death” he saw in space, echoing the comments he made shortly after landing.
“We need to take care of the planet, but it is very fragile,” he said. “There’s a little blue skin that’s 50 miles wide, and we pollute it, and it’s our livelihood.”
Video: Watch William Shatner Gaze at Earth from Space in Awe
In Photos: William Shatner’s Space Launch with Blue Origin
The 90-year-old actor-turned-astronaut said there was quite a “physical experience” associated with the 11-minute flight, in which he experienced everything from the ease of floating at zero G to the pressure of 5 Gs, or La forces. Earth’s gravity, pressing on it during landing.
“Coming down, I think, ‘You know something? I’m 90 years old,'” he said. But he said the training prepared him well to be cautious in weightlessness. “You have to grab something, don’t push too hard with your hands, just use your fingertips, because you’ll bounce off the ceiling.”
(Image credit: Blue Origin)
Microgravity, he continued, was “indescribable” and he said he felt no pressure on his gut. “Suddenly your body expands. Second, you are floating.” Describing how he felt during the three minutes of zero gravity, he added: “I don’t want to somersault. I don’t want to throw Skittles. I want to look out the window.” (In fact, the images from the spacecraft showed Shatner glued to the window.)
Returning to Earth was hard on his body, Shatner acknowledged, as “50 miles of air comes as a thud as the spacecraft hits the atmosphere.”
Recalling his thought at the time, he added, “You know the parachutes should deploy, and will they? Bang. They deployed! You think, okay, I’ll be okay … they have thrusters.” at the bottom of that thing so you don’t hit it [the ground] Too hard, [but] if they don’t go out, something terrible will happen. “
Shatner’s latest spoken word album, “Bill,” was released last month. It includes a song, with Brad Paisley, reflecting on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission called “So Far From the Moon.”
During Thursday’s interview, the actor recalled “looking up at the sky, seeing the astronauts walk on the moon, and I was so far from the moon” as the landing occurred. Rounding out the 52-year anniversary a bit, he added, “55 years later, here I am a little closer to the moon than you are. The irony of this surprises me.”
Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.
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