Saturday, September 04, 2010

Captain's Log: Shatner as Spock, the Two Kirks, planetary images and humanoid robots

What if William Shatner had gotten the role of Spock instead of portraying Captain Kirk? The top photo above is as close as I've seen to what he might have looked like, at least with a semblance of the haircut if not the ears. It's apparently from a Shakespearian stage production, published this weekend in a collage accompanying a fascinating interview with William Shatner in the New York Times Magazine. Shatner talks a little about Trek, but most of the piece is about his post-Trek success and an account of a day spent with him. I didn't get an interview with Shatner when I did my Times piece on Trek several years ago, and judging from this article, that may have been just as well--I don't know if I would have survived it as well as Jordan did.

Among his many recent projects, Shatner did voice work for a 3-D animated film, Quantum Quest:A Cassini Space Odyssey, along with several Star Wars stars (Mark Hamill, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones and Hayden Christensen) and Chris Pine,who played Captain Kirk in Star Trek JJA. The Quantum Quest movie uses actual NASA footage, presumably including such dramatic shots of Saturn and its moons taken by the Cassini spacecraft as were reproduced recently in Wired. (One of them being the middle photo above.) Wired also published some unusual shots of Mars taken from orbit.

More NASA news: Fourteen Nobel Prize-winning scientists signed a letter supporting President Obama's plan for funding space exploration, and criticizing the bill in the U.S. House that “substantially underfunded” the areas of technology development, commercial spaceflight, robotic missions, and university and student research.

And the September Space Shuttle mission will carry not only human astronauts but, for the first time, humanoid robots, like the two pictured above. These "robonauts" will be going to the International Space Station, to help out the human crew. It's partly an experiment to see if human-robot interaction is enhanced when the robots look like people. A small step for a robot, a giant leap for...Data?

1 comment:

otowi said...

Well, we've seen Shatner as a Romulan (really, a spy), remember? I think he'd look pretty similar to that as a Vulcan.