Astronauts, Trek Writer-Producers Ponder the FutureBy Michelle
March 21, 2006 - 9:00 PM
The final day of Creation's Grand Slam convention saw two astronauts discussing their experiences in space and with Star Trek, as well as executive producers Ron Moore and Majel Barrett Roddenberry describing how they think science fiction has evolved.
StarTrek.com has coverage of the event, which took place in Pasadena the weekend before last. Astronauts Walter M. Schirra, Jr. and Alan Bean both talked about the Apollo space program but expressed doubts that people will be walking on Mars in the near future. Schirra spent the morning of his 83rd birthday at the convention, describing his involvement in the Mercury project and his meeting with Gene Roddenberry on a commercial flight, where he asked Roddenberry why he beamed people up and down. He expressed frustration that few US presidents have shown a real committment to exploring space.
Bean, who turned 74 last week, was the fourth person to walk on the Moon and spent 59 days in space aboard Skylab. Among his firsts, Bean joked, was "the first space-age wedgy", and he has become an artist since retiring. "We'll go to Mars someday. Someday we'll go out to some of the moons of Jupiter," he said, noting that it could not happen until "the majority of humans in this country or on this Earth want to go do it. NASA will be ready — we'll have teams of astronauts, men and women, that will go do these things, when the culture is ready to go."
Moore's visit to the Grand Slam stage was not on the schedule, but he discussed his work on Battlestar Galactica since the end of Deep Space Nine. "Have you lost your mind?!" he was asked of the recent season finale, to which Moore responded that he had wanted to take risks with the characters "and, y'know, piss off the audience, which is always a fun thing to do." He discussed the role of religion on the series, which he felt was an important component of exploring the Cylons, and promised that the late start for next season would build anticipation.
Barrett appeared with her son, Eugene W. Roddenberry Jr., who thanked the fans for their 40-year devotion to Star Trek. "I am so proud of what you guys have done," he said, explaining that he was reworking his documentary Trek Nation before he thought it would be ready for release.
Barrett said that she was taking life easy, expressing astonishment at the scope of the Star Trek franchise but reiterating her belief that Star Trek needs a longer rest before it returns. "Give it another year or two. Well, as soon as Paramount decides they need more money, then they'll bring it back!" she said.
Full coverage is at StarTrek.com.