The ashes of original Star Trek cast member Nichelle Nichols are going to boldly go where no man has gone before. Nichols died on July 31 at the age of 89.
Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek television series on NBC, reprised her role on the Star Trek animated sries and on numerous Star Trek movies in the 1970s and 1980s. But she made major contributions to the world beyond appearing in Star Trek. She was brought on as a consultant by NASA after the show’s run, and she helped bring more women and minorities onto the team at NASA. As a result of the initiative, NASA ended up hiring Dr. Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, as well as Guion Bluford, the first black astronaut.
Celestis Memorial Spaceflights, which offers memorial burials in outer space, announced on its Instagram account that it was “honored to announce that the late Nichelle Nichols will be joining the ‘crew’ aboard the upcoming Celestis Enterprise Flight.
Nichols’ ashes will join several other members of the original Star Trek crew whose remains will be on board the ship when it heads to space, including Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James Doohan, and Gene Roddenberry, the original Star Trek creator.
The “Enterprise” memorial mission will launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The rocket itself is named Vulcan. It’s not like the rocket is just going to stay in near-earth orbit either. It’s actually going to break out of the earth’s gravity, and ideally enter deep space.
Star Trek itself actually had a pretty short initial run. It premiered in 1966 and only ran for about three seasons, but the effect it had on popular culture can’t be overstated. The show spawned one of the first major fandoms ever and inspired more pieces of art for years and years to come. The effects of that original run can still be felt in movies and TV to this very day.
In summary, Nichols and the rest of the original cast of Star Trek have done a ton for the modern world, and it’s only fair that they should get such a fitting send-off.
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