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william shatner space

William Shatner on Blue Origin's second space mission.

Once fictional space captain, now real-life astronaut William Shatner was moved to tears after his 11-minute journey beyond Earth's atmosphere.

As he landed back on the desert grounds of Texas, Captain Kirk himself remarked on the profound experience. His speech is so heartfelt and full of poignant reflections on life, it felt like another episode of "Star Trek."

"It was unbelievable. I mean you know the little things. To see the blue color and then this black. That's the thing—the covering of blue," said Shatner. "This sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue. We think, 'Oh, it's blue sky.' And then suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden like you whip off a sheet, and you're looking into blackness. Into black ugliness."

Getting emotional, he continued, "you look down, and there's the blue down there, and the black up there ... there is mother Earth, and just comfort, and there is just—is that death? Is that the way death is? It was so moving to me. This experience has been something unbelievable."

Perhaps there are correlations between the two. Death, like space, is the vast unknown. Full of wonder, but also so far away from everything that gives us any sense of safety. To look it straight in the face can be both wondrous and daunting.

Shatner added that "everybody in the world needs to do this." And where I don't see the entire human race being able to afford the luxury of space travel (back to Earth, Will!) the good news is that no one needs a rocket launcher to take a quick bird's-eye view and truly appreciate the natural miracle that is our planet.

Basically, what I'm saying is: We can all go boldly forth.