On your space travels in Star Trek, Captain James T. Kirk has never backed down from danger, whether fighting one-on-one with Gorn or facing formidable foes like Khan. But its interpreter, the Canadian actor William Shatner, is human. And fear is a natural reaction to the unknown.

So it's no surprise that Shatner claims to be "terrified" about his flight into space aboard a Blue Origin rocket, programmed for next Wednesday (13). During a panel at the New York Comic Con last Thursday night, the 7-year-old actor told the audience: “I'm terrified. I know! I'm Captain Kirk's ap*, and I'm terrified!"

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William Shatner says he is “terrified” by the flight into space. Image: Gage Skidmore – flickr

According to the website Space, Shatner started his presentation with a joke, and asked participants to recognize and marvel at the natural phenomena. "From how roots communicate via electrochemical impulses to how a photon behaves at the same time as a wave and a particle."

And then, he tackled the journey into space. “Then I'll go upstairs,” he said, and added, “I'm scared,” to the audience's laughter. And he told how he received from the Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Blue Origin, the invitation to the trip: “you're going to be the guy older in space,” Bezos would have said. To which Shatner replied, “I don't want to be the oldest guy in space. I am Captain Kirk!" 

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Despite the nervousness, the actor said he was feeling excited and privileged to embark on a historic mission. And, referring to Pale Blue Dot, an iconic photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager spacecraft in 1990, stressed the importance of physically leaving the planet and having “the experience of walking that infinite distance”. According to him, this distance allows us to see how small we are, in relation to the universe.

Shatner will fly the NS-18 mission, Blue Origin's second manned flight, with three additional passengers. The take-off is scheduled for 10:30 am (Brasilia time). From launch to landing in the Texas desert, the actor's “Star Trek” should last just over 10 minutes.

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