William Shatner on travelling to space: “Is that the way death is?”

“I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now — I don’t want to lose it.”

After emerging from the New Shepard rocket that he boarded this morning to spend a few minutes in space, an emotional William Shatner made some striking comments about Earth, life and death to Amazon CEO and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos.

With the rest of the passengers and Blue Origin NS-18 crew whooping and popping champagne in the background, Shatner made observations about the experience and expressed how moved he was by seeing Earth, the blue sky, the atmosphere and the blackness of space.

“Everybody in the world needs to do this. To see the blue cover whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing, this comforter of blue that we have around us. You think, oh, that’s blue sky, and you look down and you think, that’s the blue down there, and there’s black up there. There is Mother Earth — comfort. Is there death (pointing to space)? I don’t know, is that death? Is that the way death is? Whoop, and it’s gone.

“It was so moving to me. This experience is something unbelievable. With the weightlessness, God this is so, so weird, but not as weird as the covering of blue — this is what I never expected. What is unknown until you do it is that there is this pillow, this soft blue — look at the beauty of that colour — and it’s so thin. And you’re through it in an instant.

“(To Bezos) What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now — I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me and life. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.

“What I would love to do is communicate as much as possible the jeopardy, the vulnerability of everything. This air which is keeping us all alive is thinner than your skin. It’s a sliver, it’s immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It’s negligible, this air. Mars doesn’t have it. In an instant. This is life, and that’s death.”

The Montreal-born actor, best known for playing Captain Kirk on the original Star Trek series, is 90 years old — the oldest person to have travelled to space.

William Shatner: “Is that what death is like?”

The entire flight is featured in the video below. Shatner speaks to Bezos at 2:04:20.

For more about the NS-18 mission, please visit the Blue Origin website.

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