What do former United States presidents and cast members from Star Trek, the original series, have in common? They are all heading to space together.
According to Texas-based Celestis Memorial Space Flights, this spring it plans to launch what it believes to be the authenticated DNA of Presidents George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan on the upcoming Enterprise Flight, described as “humanity’s first deep space time capsule.” According to the Celestis blog, the presidential DNA was culled from hair samples.
“These hair samples, which were originally from the Louis Mushro collection, along with the associated Certificates of Authenticity, were gifted to Celestis by an anonymous donor for the purpose of being included on a deep space mission,” the blog states. “Louis Mushro was a well-known celebrity hair collector and appraiser who built a global reputation as the expert in this field before his passing in 2014.”
Celestis noted that the hair samples had been stored in a climate-controlled facility for several years in preparation for the mission.
Washington, known as the founding father of the nation, was the first president of the United States.
Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan were instrumental in the development of the American space program.
Eisenhower, who held office from 1953 until 1961, was the driving force behind the creation of NASA.
John F. Kennedy, whose presidency was cut short by assassination, famously announced during a speech in 1962 at Rice University that by the end of the decade, America would land an astronaut on the moon.
Ronald Reagan, president from 1981 until 1989, held office during the development of the American Space Shuttle program. In 1986 Reagan postponed a scheduled presidential address to comfort the nation in the wake of the Challenger Disaster and created the Rogers Commission to investigate the accident.
Also on board the flight, the DNA of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who starred in the pilot episode of the original series as Number 1, then went on to play Nurse Chapel, then Luxwana Troi in The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 as well as providing her voice for the computer interface from 1966 until 2009.
The DNA of their son Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry is also aboard; as is the DNA of Nichelle Nichols who starred as Lt. Uhura the communications officer aboard the starship Enterprise, then after the series ended, became a spokesperson for NASA to help them recruit more women; the DNA of her son Kyle Johnson; and the DNA of actor DeForest Kelley who played Dr. McCoy, aka Bones, the chief surgeon of the starship Enterprise; and James Doohan, who played Mr. Scott aka Scotty, the chief engineer. In addition, DNA of former astronaut Dr. Philip Chapman makes a second trip into space, having previously flown on Celestis Aurora Flight.
According to Celestis, the Enterprise Flight window is May 4th to 8th. The Vulcan rocket will travel beyond the moon and establish a solar orbit some 150 to 300 million miles in deep space.