Canadian actor William Shatner quickly discovered that a trip to space was not as exciting as he had expected it to be.
In his new book, “Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder,” the 91-year-old actor reflected on his trip to space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin last year.
As per Insider, the “Star Trek” alum was joined by former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, healthcare entrepreneur Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers onboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket for an 11-minute trip that allowed them to view the curvature of the Earth and experience weightlessness.
Although Shatner seemed static when he first returned from his record-breaking trip, his new book reveals that he felt profound sadness upon his return to Earth.
William Shatner Says He Felt ‘Overwhelming Sadness’ On His Trip To Space
In an excerpt from his book, published by Variety, the “Boston Legal” actor said he felt “overwhelming sadness” after he returned from his trip to space.
“I love the mystery of the universe,” he wrote. “All of that has thrilled me for years…but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold… all I saw was death.”
He said that he only witnessed “cold, dark, black emptiness” in space, which he said was unlike anything he had ever seen before on Earth.
“My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral,” he wrote. “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 described the experience as the “overview effect,” which is a cognitive shift in how one thinks about Earth and life on a grand scale. It’s also something that many astronauts have reported feeling during spaceflight and on their return trips to Earth.
The ‘Star Trek’ Alum Feels A More ‘Profound’ Connection To Earth After His Trip To Space
After returning from the trip, the “T.J. Hooker” actor said that he felt a more “profound” connection to Earth than he had before he left.
“Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong,” he wrote. “I had a different experience because I discovered that the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.”
Shortly after he had arrived back on Earth for the first time, he talked to Jeff Bezos directly about his “profound” experience, saying, “What you have given me is the most profound experience…I hope I never recover from this.”
He also spoke to the TODAY show shortly after he got back from the trip, calling the feeling of weightlessness that he experienced “indescribable.”
“The feeling of weightlessness is indescribable.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 14, 2021
Earlier this year, he also told CNN Business that he couldn’t stop crying after the journey because he was “grieving for the destruction of the Earth.”
He also briefly touched upon his fears of climate change and its potentially devastating impact on the planet, warning, “It’s gonna get worse. It’s like somebody owing money on a mortgage, and they don’t have the payments and they think, ‘Oh well, let’s go to dinner and not think about it.'”
“It took me hours to understand what it was, why I was weeping,” he said. “I realized I was in grief. I was grieving for the destruction of the Earth.”