William Shatner cried telling Jeff Bezos about his flight to space: 'I hope I never recover from this'
William Shatner flew to the edge of space Wednesday aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket.
Back on Earth, an emotional Shatner shared his reflections on the flight with Jeff Bezos.
Shatner said seeing space's blackness was like looking at death: "I hope I never recover from this."
William Shatner poured his heart out on camera after soaring to the edge of space on Wednesday.
Shatner, who spent decades playing Captain James T. Kirk in "Star Trek," lifted off aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket at 10:49 a.m. ET, then soared 62 miles above Earth in an 11-minute spaceflight.
He and the ship's three other passengers - the former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, the healthcare entrepreneur Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers - experienced several minutes of weightlessness and saw the curvature of Earth before plummeting back to the ground.
After landing in the Texas desert and climbing out of the spaceship, an emotional Shatner shared his reactions with Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000.
"What you have given me is the most profound experience. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's extraordinary," Shatner said, tearing up. "I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it.
"It's so much larger than me and life. It hasn't got anything to do with the little green men. ... It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death."
Shatner said he was stunned by the thin line of Earth's atmosphere. At one point during his postflight reflection, he covered his face and wiped away tears.
"Look at the beauty of that color. And it's so thin. And you're through it in an instant," he said. "Suddenly, you're through the blue, and you're into black."
Shatner added: "You're looking into blackness, into black ugliness. And you look down - there's the blue down there and the black up there. There is Mother Earth and comfort, and there is - is there death? I don't know. Is that death? Is that the way death is? It was so moving, this experience."
At 90, Shatner is the oldest person to fly to space.
Many astronauts who've seen Earth from space have described overwhelming feelings of awe, unity with the rest of humanity, and an appreciation for the fragility of our planet. Experts call this the "overview effect."
"I can't even begin to express - What I would love to do is to communicate as much as possible the jeopardy, the moment you see the vulnerability of everything. It's so small. This air which is keeping us alive is thinner than your skin. It's a sliver. It's immeasurably small when you think in terms of the universe. It's negligible, this air. Mars doesn't have it," he said. "It's so thin. To dirty it, I mean that's another whole - "
Bezos cut him off to note how quickly the spaceship rises above the atmosphere. "And then you're just in blackness," Bezos said.
"You're in death!" Shatner responded. "This is life, and that's death. And in an instant, you go, 'Oh, that's death!' That's what I saw."
You can watch Shatner share his reflections with Bezos in Blue Origin's flight broadcast below.
"Everybody in the world needs to do this," Shatner said. "Everybody in the world needs to see."
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