William Shatner, who is famous for having played the beloved Captain Kirk on the original ‘Star Trek’ television series, received high honors from NASA over the weekend when the space agency awarded him the Distinguished Public Service medal. It is NASA’s highest award to be given to civilians. Even recently, Shatner lent his voice to a video promoting NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. The ‘Star Trek’ actor is 83.
Although the original ‘Star Trek’ series ran for only three years–from 1966 to 1969–the show still had an enormous impact on American culture. The ‘Star Trek’ phenomenon ignited an interest in the mysteries of outer space while Captain James Tiberius Kirk, along with Mr. Spock, gave their young audience a moral code to live by.
“William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today,” said David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA headquarters in Washington, in a statement. “He’s most deserving of this prestigious award.”
The medal was awarded Saturday evening at Shatner’s Hollywood Charity Horse Show, a yearly event for raising money for children’s causes, NASA officials said.
The medal’s citation said that Shatner was being honored for “outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery.”
Shatner has long been an informal and enthusiastic spokesman for NASA. The space agency was written into Star Trek scripts in both the TV series and films leading NASA to christen its space shuttle prototype Enterprise in honor of the series.
Born in Canada, Shatner also has been an advocate for his native country’s smaller space agency and exchanged tweets with Canada’s first space station commander, astronaut Chris Hadfield.
Source: Science Recorder