“To Boldy Go”: The Nichelle Nichols Foundation Continues Actress’ Legacy of Inspiration

The Nichelle Nichols Foundation carries on the actress' legacy of inspiring young women and people of color to reach for the stars! Credit: Nichelle Nichols Foundation

“Science is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going. Space travel benefits us here on Earth. And we ain’t stopped yet. There’s more exploration to come.”

Nichelle Nichols (1932-2022)

This past summer, the world said goodbye to Nichelle Nichols, the famous actress, activist, and musician who portrayed Lt. Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek franchise. This iconic role was one she popularized in the original series (1966 to 1969), six feature films (1979 to 1991), and multiple television specials. But for those familiar with the life and times of Nichols, her legacy as an activist and inspirational figure are what many will truly remember her for. In honor of her tireless work and advocacy, her family, friends, and fans have come together to launch the Nichelle Nichols Foundation (NNF).

Continue reading ““To Boldy Go”: The Nichelle Nichols Foundation Continues Actress’ Legacy of Inspiration”

Spock-tacular! Tech Pioneer Boosts Plan for Leonard Nimoy Memorial

Illustration: Leonard Nimoy Memorial at Museum of Science
An artist's conception shows the Leonard Nimoy Memorial at Boston's Museum of Science. (Image Courtesy of Museum of Science)

Efforts to create a memorial celebrating the legacy of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played a pointy-eared alien named Spock on “Star Trek,” have shifted to warp speed nearly eight years after his death.

A six-figure contribution from Rich Miner, the co-founder of Android, is energizing the campaign to create an illuminated 20-foot-high sculpture depicting Spock’s famous “Live Long and Prosper” hand gesture. The sculpture would be placed at Boston’s Museum of Science, near the West End neighborhood where Nimoy grew up.

Nimoy’s daughter, Julie Nimoy, and her husband David Knight are working with the museum to hit a $500,000 fundraising goal for the project. Thanks to Miner’s contribution, Knight said that the stainless-steel monument, designed by artist Tom Stocker and sculptor David Phillips, could begin taking shape as early as this year.

Continue reading “Spock-tacular! Tech Pioneer Boosts Plan for Leonard Nimoy Memorial”

DNA From Star Trek’s Original Doctor Will Ride to the Final Frontier

Star Trek actors at Enterprise rollout
In 1976, the crew of the original "Star Trek" TV show attended the rollout of the prototype space shuttle Enterprise in California. In the front row, from left: NASA Administrator James Fletcher, DeForest Kelley ("Bones"), George Takei ("Sulu"), Nichelle Nichols ("Uhura"), Leonard Nimoy ("Spock"), series creator Gene Roddenberry and Walter Koenig ("Chekov"). Photo Credit: NASA

A memorial spaceflight paying tribute to the cast and crew of the original “Star Trek” TV show has just added another star to the passenger list.

DeForest Kelley — who played Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the Starship Enterprise’s physician — will be represented by a thimble-sized sample of DNA on next year’s “Enterprise Flight.” Kelley passed away in 1999 at the age of 79, but the DNA was extracted from a hair sample that was preserved after his death.

Continue reading “DNA From Star Trek’s Original Doctor Will Ride to the Final Frontier”

Godspeed, Uhura: A Bit of Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols Will Go to Space

Nichelle Nichols at NASA Mission Control
Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols visited NASA in 1977 to support an astronaut recruitment campaign. (NASA Photo)

Nichelle Nichols, who blazed a trail for Black actors as Lieutenant Uhura on the original “Star Trek,” never got to go to space while she was alive — but her ashes and her DNA are due to reach the final frontier as early as this year.

The symbolic samples are scheduled to fly beyond the moon, along with the ashes of other dearly departed Star Trek pioneers such as James Doohan (“Scotty”); Majel Barrett Roddenberry (“Nurse Chapel”); the TV series’ creator, Gene Roddenberry; and visual-effects wizard Douglas Trumbull.

To top it all off, Nichols’ memorial journey will begin with the launch of a Vulcan rocket. “I’m sure she would have much preferred to go on the shuttle,” said her son, Kyle Johnson, “but this was a pretty close second.”

The “Enterprise” memorial mission is being organized by Houston-based Celestis, which has been making arrangements to fly its customers’ cremated remains for a quarter-century. A gram of Nichols’ ashes, plus DNA samples taken from her and from Johnson, will be among the secondary payloads for United Launch Alliance’s first Vulcan Centaur mission, set for no earlier than December.

Continue reading “Godspeed, Uhura: A Bit of Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols Will Go to Space”

“TrekTalks” Telethon Calls upon Star Trek Fandom to Meet the Needs of the Many

I grew up watching Star Trek inspired by what Trek imagined the future could be.

Earth had done away with poverty, disease, war. Humanity, in cooperation with other alien civilizations, explored the Galaxy on ships like the USS Enterprise doing good where possible. Diplomatic missions, crisis relief, medical aid. Star Trek is a view of what humanity could be if we were brave and bold but also empathetic and kind – us at our best.

Lately our 21st century world has been…well…a hard place to be – harder for some than others. What if the Star Trek fandom could take some inspiration from that imagined future to make change in the present? This weekend is a chance to make it so with “TrekTalks” – a livestream telethon featuring an incredible lineup of Star Trek cast and crew to benefit the Hollywood Food Coalition starting tomorrow (January 15th) at 11:45am Pacific Time and running to 7:45pm PT

TrekTalks livestream link
Continue reading ““TrekTalks” Telethon Calls upon Star Trek Fandom to Meet the Needs of the Many”

William Shatner Completes his Trip to Space With Blue Origin

After traveling to the edge of space this week, William Shatner and the crew of the NS-18 mission made it back to Earth safe and sound. This was the second time Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle flew to space with a crew aboard, and as with the inaugural flight, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos decided to enlist some star power! Who better than the man known to millions of fans as James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of the starship Enterprise?

At 90 years of age, the veteran actor of television, film, and stage is the oldest person to fly to space. The previous record was held by 82-year old veteran aviator Wally Funk, who went to space as part of the first crewed flight of the New Shepard on July 20th. Along with his fellow crewmembers, Shatner’s experienced what it’s like to go to space for the first time from the company’s Launch Site One facility in West Texas.

Continue reading “William Shatner Completes his Trip to Space With Blue Origin”

These are the new Space Force Uniforms, So Say We All

Prototypes of the Guardian dress uniform were revealed in September, 2021. Credit: Space Force Twitter.

The U.S. Space Force has released prototypes of its service dress uniforms for its Guardians.

The reaction on social media revealed that when it comes to uniforms, us space nerds are all fashionistas. But admittedly, the uniforms have a familiar look…

Continue reading “These are the new Space Force Uniforms, So Say We All”

Astronomers find Planet Vulcan – 40 Eridani A – Right Where Star Trek Predicted it.

Artist's impression of the "super-Earth" orbiting HD 26965. Credit: UFNews

One of the more interesting and rewarding aspects of astronomy and space exploration is seeing science fiction become science fact. While we are still many years away from colonizing the Solar System or reaching the nearest stars (if we ever do), there are still many rewarding discoveries being made that are fulfilling the fevered dreams of science fiction fans.

For instance, using the Dharma Planet Survey, an international team of scientists recently discovered a super-Earth orbiting a star just 16 light-years away. This super-Earth is not only the closest planet of its kind to the Solar System, it also happens to be located in the same star system as the fictional planet Vulcan from the Star Trek universe.

Continue reading “Astronomers find Planet Vulcan – 40 Eridani A – Right Where Star Trek Predicted it.”

Weekly Space Hangout: May 16, 2018: Ethan Siegel’s Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive

Hosts:
Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain)
Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter)
Dr. Kimberly Cartier (KimberlyCartier.org / @AstroKimCartier )
Dr. Morgan Rehnberg (MorganRehnberg.com / @MorganRehnberg & ChartYourWorld.org)

Special Guests:
Ethan Siegel is the author of the new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. In his book, Ethan examines over 25 items from the Star Trek universe, describes their underlying science, and lets his readers know how close we are to having many of these iconic items today.

Ethan is a PhD astrophysicist and science communicator known for his award winning blog, Starts with a Bang, and his regular online contributions to Forbes (you can find his writings here. )

Both Treknology and Ethan’s first book, Beyond the Galaxy: How humanity looked beyond our Milky Way and discovered the entire Universe, are available on Amazon.

Announcements:
If you would like to join the Weekly Space Hangout Crew, visit their site here and sign up. They’re a great team who can help you join our online discussions!

We record the Weekly Space Hangout every Wednesday at 5:00 pm Pacific / 8:00 pm Eastern. You can watch us live on Universe Today, or the Weekly Space Hangout YouTube page – Please subscribe!