Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols’ ashes headed for solar orbit

US News

Nichelle Nichols will become the latest member of the original Star Trek TV series to be memorialised by having some of her remains flown into deep space.

Nichols, who was best known for her role on the show in the 1960s as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura and helped shatter racial stereotypes at the height of the Civil Rights movement, died in July aged 89.

Now, she has been added to a memorial flight in a rocket ship due to carry cremated ashes and DNA samples from departed space enthusiasts on a final and eternal voyage around the sun, according to organisers of the tribute.

Nichelle Nichols. Pic: Jens Krick/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP
Image:
Pic: Jens Krick/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP


The star’s son Kyle Johnson described it as “a wonderful memorial for her, an eternal one”.

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A date for the launch has not yet been set.

Nichols will not be the first Star Trek hero whose remains have been launched into space – with other cast members and executives including James Doohan, who played the show’s chief engineer Scotty, and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, also making the voyage.

Her death prompted a flood of tributes for the African-American actress whose interracial onscreen kiss with co-star William Shatner was unheard of at the time.

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Like other original cast members, Nichols also appeared in six big-screen spinoffs starting in 1979 with Star Trek: The Motion Picture and fan conventions.

She also served for many years as a NASA recruiter, helping bring minorities and women into the astronaut corps.

Nichelle Nichols

The remains of Roddenberry’s wife, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played nurse Christine Chapel on the series, and the renowned sci-fi visual effects artist Douglas Trumbull, whose work was featured in films like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, will also join the launch.

The launch is organised by Texas-based company Celestis Inc, which offers a measure of cosmic immortality to customers that can afford a dramatic send-off.

More than 200 capsules carrying human remains and DNA are set to go inside the upper rocket stage that will fly on into deep space – beyond the gravitational pull of the Earth and moon – and eventually enter a perpetual solar orbit.

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