Almost exactly one year ago, William Shatner, most famously Star Trek's Captain James Kirk, took a brief trip to space aboard a Blue Origin rocket. After exiting the spacecraft on his return, the 90-year-old Shatner described it as "the most profound experience I can imagine… It's extraordinary, extraordinary."
Of course, "profound" doesn't always mean "enjoyable," and in his brand new memoir Boldly Go, Shatner wrote that his space adventure was actually a miserable experience. From an excerpt of the book in Variety:
I saw a cold, dark, black emptiness. It was unlike any blackness you can see or feel on Earth. It was deep, enveloping, all-encompassing. I turned back toward the light of home. I could see the curvature of Earth, the beige of the desert, the white of the clouds and the blue of the sky. It was life. Nurturing, sustaining, life. Mother Earth. Gaia. And I was leaving her.
Everything I had thought was wrong. Everything I had expected to see was wrong.
I had thought that going into space would be the ultimate catharsis of that connection I had been looking for between all living things—that being up there would be the next beautiful step to understanding the harmony of the universe[…]
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. Every day, we are confronted with the knowledge of further destruction of Earth at our hands: the extinction of animal species, of flora and fauna . . . things that took five billion years to evolve, and suddenly we will never see them again because of the interference of mankind. It filled me with dread. My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral.