On Saturday, NASA astronaut Terry Virts, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, marked the passing of Leonard Nimoy with a Vulcan salute … delivered from the final frontier, and sent over Twitter.
As Kyle Hill writes at Nerdist, NASA has long known the power of Star Trek in inspiring astronauts and galvanizing the public:
NASA has always recognized the galvanizing power of Star Trek. Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura alongside Nimoy's Spock, later became a recruiter for NASA. She toured the country encouraging diversity in astronaut applicants. Among those who listened were Charles Bolden, the current NASA administrator, and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
And in 1976, NASA revealed the space shuttle "Enterprise," which was supposed to be called "Constitution" if not for a write-in campaign from Star Trek fans.
I'm tempted, of course, to end this with a sappy "Live Long and Prosper." But the truth is that the future of NASA's exploration of the final frontier looks very grim right now.