Happy 100th, Gene Roddenberry

The creator of Star Trek was born on August 19, 1921. Today would be his 100th birthday. Though he never went to space himself, he created a universe that would inspire many who actually did. In fact, in the 1970s NASA recruited Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, to recruit new astronauts, particularly women and people of color.

Science fiction became science fact when the first Space Shuttle was named Enterprise after a massive letter writing campaign convinced NASA to do it. The cast of the original series, as well as Roddenberry himself, were on hand at the public unveiling, featured as today’s NASA Image of the Day. Although Enterprise also never flew into space, it was an extremely important proof of the Space Shuttle concept, particularly its ability to land like an airplane. (Later, the Space Shuttle Enterprise would appear on a display on the Starship Enterprise of previous ships of that name in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. How meta is that?)

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