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William Shatner believes going into space is a 'very personal' experience

William Shatner says going into space is different for everyone credit:Bang Showbiz
William Shatner says going into space is different for everyone credit:Bang Showbiz

William Shatner has declared going into space is a "very personal" experience.

The 'Star Trek' actor became the oldest person ever to reach outer space when he blasted off on Jeff Bezos's New Shepard NS-18 rocket in October 2021 at the age of 90 and he's now insisted everyone who gets to experience the "stillness" comes away with a different opinion on what they saw.

He told the Guardian newspaper: "It’s very personal, what you see from up there, what you read into the stillness. I saw the blankness of space as death, but an astronaut will see something else entirely. And when I looked back at the Earth, I saw life."

The 'Boston Legal' star previously compared the feeling of being in space to being "at a funeral" and explained his feelings to Variety, saying: "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.I discovered 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. 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."

He later went on to insist he was experiencing a common feeling known as the 'Overview Effect.'

Writing in his autobiography 'Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder', he explained: "My trip to space was supposed to be a celebration; instead, it felt like a funeral.

"It is called the ‘Overview Effect’ and is not uncommon among astronauts, including Yuri Gagarin, Michael Collins, Sally Ride, and many others. Essentially, when someone travels to space and views Earth from orbit, a sense of the planet’s fragility takes hold in an ineffable, instinctive manner.

"Author Frank White first coined the term in 1987: ‘There are no borders or boundaries on our planet except those that we create in our minds or through human behaviours. All the ideas and concepts that divide us when we are on the surface begin to fade from orbit and the moon. The result is a shift in worldview, and in identity'."