Nichelle Nichols appeared live from Kennedy Space Center this morning on CNN’s American Morning Live show.
Kennedy Space Center is hosting Star Trek: The Exhibition this summer and Nichols’ interview took place on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise that is part of that exhibition, but instead of her usual place at the communications console, she was interviewed sitting in the Captain’s chair.
Nichols spoke about her time on Star Trek, praising Gene Roddenberry‘s genius, and also spoke about her interest in the space program and NASA, which predated her time on Star Trek. “I was always fascinated with the space program,” she said, “fifty years ago when Kennedy said ‘the moon in this decade and back again safely.’ And even the finest minds said ‘we can’t go to the moon and back in this decade.’ But the president said it would be done and they said ‘well we’ll do it.” And here we are today beneficiaries of that.”
If she were doing recruiting for NASA today, Nichols would do the very same thing she did when recruiting astronauts such as Sally Ride and Guion Bluford (the first female and the first black astronauts). She would tell them that “what the mind can imagine, the mind can achieve and as long as there is space out there, there is a background on which to paint our genius and to go where no woman or man has gone before, beyond the beyond. We have only just begun…You can do what the mind tells you, if we believe in it and go after it.”
Nichols is at Kennedy Space Center to see the launch of the GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft, due to launch on Thursday. She will meet with visitors and sign autographs on that day.
The video featuring the interview with Nichols can be seen here.