Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NASA Awards William Shatner with Distinguished Public Service Medal

Courtesy NASA
Last Saturday in Los Angeles at his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, actor, director and, yes, legend, William Shatner was honored when he received NASA’s Distinguished Public Service medal. The medal is the highest award given by the agency to non-government personnel. NASA stated in the announcement, "After nearly 50 years of warping across galaxies and saving the universe from a variety of alien threats and celestial disasters, "Star Trek"’s William Shatner finally went where no other member of Starfleet has gone before."

Shatner is not only an advocate for the advancement and study of space and science but he is also involved in raising money for a variety of children’s causes, namely at the charity show at which he was honored with the medal. The medal's citation reads, “For outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery.”

David Weaver, NASA’s associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington stated, “William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today. He's most deserving of this prestigious award.”

According to the article, Shatner has a long relationship with NASA that dates all the way back to "Star Trek" when "references to the space agency and its programs that were incorporated into storylines throughout the television and film franchises." They cite the example of when, "In 1976, when NASA was ready to introduce a reusable spacecraft as the successor to the Apollo program, a new space shuttle prototype, originally to be named Constitution, was dubbed Enterprise in honor of the 'Star Trek' universe and the work of Shatner and his series co-stars."

At 83 years young, Shatner has not slowed down and still contributes his efforts to NASA, namely by hosting the NASA documentary celebrating the 30th anniversary of space shuttle missions.

-Larissa Mrykalo