William Shatner’s reaction to flying through the atmosphere should give everyone pause
In videos that instantly went viral, 90 year old actor William Shatner’s reacts to his 4 minute space voyage with intense emotions and Kirk-like dramatic flair.
“To see the blue colour go whip by you and now you’re staring into blackness,” Shatner exclaimed standing next to Billionaire Jeff Bezos only moments after leaving the capsule seemingly in tears. “That’s the thing. You shoot through it all of a sudden. You look down and the blue down there and the black up there. Whoop and it’s gone. Jesus!”
Well how thick is the Earth’s atmosphere anyway?
At one point Jeff Bezos, who is standing next to him, throws up his hands says “It’s maybe 50 miles. Depending on how you measure it.”
Earth’s atmosphere, is only about 60 miles depending on how you measure it, according to NASA.
Although space rockets obviously travel quickly, this isn’t a comment on rocket speed. The atmosphere is very thin. A sliver when you look at it from space
And as Shatner points out you don’t really see it from down on the ground.
“You look up and everything is blue,” he says. “But whoop and it’s gone” he says of flying through it.
I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Canadian astronaut Chris Hatfield as both waited to speak at an event in South Carolina. Hatfield impressed on me that he was also disturbed by the speed at which you fly through the planet’s atmosphere. Not because, as an astronaut, you’ve prepared so long for this moment only to see it go by an instant.
But you realize how thin the veil of life is on Earth. And how we are filling that veil with greenhouse gases.
Shatner points out that standing on Earth you simply look up and see blue and you don’t realize it’s a thin sheath. It’s only when you zoom through it, and look down the shocking truth is revealed.
That’s all we’ve got.