Boldly Going for 50 Years

September 8, 2016   |   Reading time: ~3 mins

It’s very much not an overstatement to say that I adore Star Trek. Today is a very special for someone who claims this level of adoration for the franchise as it is exactly 50 years old today. Back on September 8th 1966 the first ever episode of Star Trek, The Man Trap, hit the screens of eager viewers of NBC. Although initially off to a bumpy start, this franchise has certainly lived on with a longevity rare in modern culture. Even when imitators, and even contemporaries, have fallen by the wayside, the Star Trek franchise lives on with an enduring grace. Even now we have the third in a series of popular films just released, as well as a new TV series close on the horizon. So, I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to express how much I love the show and my reasons for it.

The unfortunate truth of being an astronomer is that I spent the majority of my time studying objects parsecs away that I will likely never be able to visit. We are discovering rich troves of interesting planets, some of which are habitable, that are just laughably out of reach to all inquiry apart from those utilising the wonders of light. So the thought of a future where humanity is peacefully visiting all of these places that I study has a certain appeal to me. I also like to think of Star Trek as an idealised, but certainly reachable, outcome for human civilisation. For the most part, the humanity portrayed in Star Trek are well reasoned, generous people who are constantly helping those in need. There is no Earth-bound poverty and famine as we’ve used science to develop ways around it, and on the face of it inequality is never an issue in this idealised future society. Aside from the rich universe that Gene Roddenberry and the writers of the show envisioned over its long and illustrious run, the stories and characters that have been dreamed up have often contained within them a nugget of truth which exposes contemporary issues presented in a less bitter science fiction coating.

It is for these reasons that Star Trek is and will continue to be my favourite TV show. It’s legacy has lasted 50 years and the various incarnations have told many, many memorable stories. So, on its 50th anniversary I would like to wish you dear reader to live long and prosper. Let’s drive humanity forward into the 21st century with our eyes open, ready to tackle the problems facing modern society with integrity and grit, and strive towards the humanity suggested in Star Trek. Let us continue boldly go where no one has gone before.

By the way, yes those are Vulcan ears I’m wearing in that photo.


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