William Shatner calls his trip to the edge of space 'one of the strongest feelings of grief' in his life
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Star Trek actor William Shatner has opened up about his trip to space, describing it as ‘one of the strongest feelings of grief’ he’s ever encountered.
The 91-year-old became the oldest person on Earth to be blasted to space last year as he boarded a Blue Origin suborbital capsule developed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
However, the actor has recently revealed that he felt ‘overwhelming sadness’ as the rocket blasted through Earth's atmosphere.
He told Variety: “It was among the strongest feelings of grief I have ever encountered.
"The contrast between the vicious coldness of space and the warm nurturing of Earth below filled me with overwhelming sadness.”
He added that while he was expecting to bask in all of its beauty, he instead saw ‘cold, dark, black emptiness' in space.
He said: “All I saw was death.”
Shatner said that while humans are confronted with the everyday destruction of Earth and the impending doom of climate change, seeing the little blue planet from outer space raised concerns about ‘the interference of mankind'.
He added: “It filled me with dread.
"My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral.”
However, the actor said he isn’t alone in experiencing this feeling, as many astronauts have often spoken of the ‘Overview Effect’, which refers to the cognitive shift when viewing Earth from space.
According to Legal Nomads, in the short film, Overview, author Frank White, who first coined the term in the late 80s, described the experience: “I was flying cross-country, from the East coast to the West coast in the 1970s, and I was looking out the window. And as I was looking down at the planet, the thought came to me: anyone living in a space settlement, or living on the moon, would always have an overview.
“They would see things that we know, but we don’t experience. That the Earth is one system, and we’re all part of that system. And that there is a certain unity and coherence to it all. And I immediately called it the ‘Overview Effect’.”
Shatner said this ‘reinforced’ his view on 'the power of our beautiful, mysterious collective human entanglement’, which has since restored a feeling of ‘hope’.
He added: “It can change the way we look at the planet but also other things like countries, ethnicities, religions; it can prompt an instant reevaluation of our shared harmony and a shift in focus to all the wonderful things we have in common instead of what makes us different.”