For many people (who could ever afford it), a trip into space is the ultimate to-do item on their bucket list.
But some might reconsider after William Shatner shared his account of the much-publicised trip he made aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket one year on from his launch into space.
In fact, the 91-year-old admitted he felt an “overwhelming sadness” during the trip, which he likened to a funeral.
“I love the mystery of the universe,” he writes. “I love all the questions that have come to us over thousands of years of exploration and hypotheses … but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold … all I saw was death.”
Recalling the view almost one year later from the boundary of space, known as the Kármán Line, the Captain Kirk star describes space as “a cold, dark, black emptiness … deep, enveloping, all-encompassing”.
He continues: “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.”
The Canadian star broke down in tears upon landing, describing his trip as “the most profound experience I can imagine”.
“I hope I never recover from this,” he said at the time. “I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary.”
But 12 months after touching down back to Earth, the actor said that “the beauty isn’t out there, it’s down here, with all of us. Leaving that behind made my connection to our tiny planet even more profound.”
He added: “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 5bn 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.”