Ashes of Star Trek's Original Scotty Are Aboard the International Space Station
It seems Star Trek's original Scotty, James Doohan, has once again boldly gone where no man has before -- his ashes traveling 240 miles above Earth, the result of a once top-secret mission.
After the beloved actor and sci-fi legend passed away at the age of 85 in 2005, his family still wanted him to experience his dream of visiting the International Space Station, making two formal requests for his ashes to be brought up to the ship. Although both requests were rejected, not all hope was lost -- In 2008, video game developer, Richard Garriott, took it upon himself to make it so, smuggling his ashes aboard the ISS during a 12-day private astronaut mission, one of the first civilian trips aboard the vessel.
Beaming up a laminated card with Doohan's photo and some of his ashes, the entrepreneur was able to slip the unit underneath the flooring of the ISS's Columbia model, where the actor's remains have since traveled approximately 1.7 billion miles and orbited Earth more than 70,000 times, The Times reported. Despite this incredible feat, for nearly 12 years, Garriott says only he and Doohan's family knew of the endeavor.
"It was completely clandestine," Garriott explained in an interview with UK based publication. "His family were very pleased that the ashes made it up there but we were all disappointed we didn't get to talk about it publicly for so long. Now enough time has passed that we can."
Although the actor's ashes have since been brought to space through more legitimate means, namely an urn with his remains flying above aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 in 2012, according to The Verge, Doohan's son, Chris, says the original gesture meant a lot to him.
"What he did was touching," he said. "It meant so much to me so much to my family and it would have meant so much to my dad."
With a rich career and evidently loving family, it seems Doohan lived long, and even after his death, has continued to prosper. May he rest in peace.