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What would you like to do?
Speech of William Shatner after flying to space on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin capsule
Bezos: Well?
Shatner: In a way, it’s indescribable.
Not only is it different than what you thought, it happens so quickly.
You know what? The impression I have, that I never expected to have, is you’re shooting up and there used to...
[gets interrupted by Bezos who asks for champagne]
What you [Bezos] have done... everybody in the world needs to be in this [capsule]. Everybody in the world needs to see
[in tears] ... it was unbelievable, unbelievable. I mean, you know, the little things... the weightlessness. But to see
the blue color [of the sky/atmosphere] WHIP by, and now you’re staring at the blackness, that’s the thing. The covering
of blue, this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue that we have around us. We think “oh that’s full of sky”. You
shoot through it all of a sudden as if you whip of a sheet off your windows. And you're looking into blackness, into BLACK
ugliness. And you look down and there’s the blue down there and the black up there. There is mother Earth, comfort...
and there is... is there death? I don’t know, but is that death? Is that the way death is? Whoop, and it’s gone. Jesus.
It was so moving. This experience it’s something unbelievable. You see, you know... weightlessness, my stomach went on,
ah this is so weird. But not as weird as the covering of blue, this is what I never expected. Oh it’s one thing to say
“oh the sky and the thing and fragile”... it’s all true... but what isn’t true, what is unknown, until you do it, is
this pillow, there’s this soft blue, look at the beauty of that color. And it’s so thin, and you’re through it in an
instant. It’s what... how thick is it? Is it a mile? Two miles?
Bezos: The atmosphere? No, I mean, it’s maybe... depends on how you measure it... it thins out... maybe 50 miles?
Shatner: But you’re going 2000 miles an hour, so you’re through 50 miles, whatever the mathematics are.
Bezos: Fast! Yeah, really fast.
Shatner: You know it’s like a beat, and a beat, and suddenly you’re through the blue and you’re into black. You know
it’s rad, mysterious and galaxies, but what you see is BLACK. And what you see down there is light. And that’s the
difference. And not to have this [points at Earth].
You [Bezos] have done something, I mean, whatever those other guys are doing... I don’t know about them... what you
have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine [in tears]. I’m so filled with emotion about what just
happened, it’s extraordinary, extraordinary [hugging Bezos]. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can
maintain what I feel now. I don’t wanna lose it. It’s so... it’s so much larger than me and life. It hasn’t got
anything to do with the little green man and the blue orb, it has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the
suddenness of life and death and oh my god... the suddenty.
Bezos: It’s so beautiful.
Shatner: Beautiful? Yes, beautiful in it’s way, but...
Bezos: No, I mean your words, it’s just amazing.
Shatner: Oh, my words. I don’t know I can’t even begin to express. What I would love to do is to communicate as much as
possible... the jeopardy, the moment you see the vulnerability of everything. It’s so small, this air which is keeping
us alive is thinner than your skin, it’s a sliver, it’s immeasurably small, when you think in terms of the universe.
It’s negligible, this air. Mars doesn’t have it. Nothing, I mean this... and when you think [unintelligibility] to
oxygen, what is it, 20 percent or something that level that sustains our life, it’s so thin. To dirty it... I mean,
that’s another whole...
Bezos: And you shoot through it so fast.
Shatner: So quickly, 50 miles and you’re in death.
Bezos: This is life... [points at Earth]
Shatner: This is life and that’s death. And it’s in an instance. You go wow... that’s death. That’s what I saw. I am
overwhelmed. I had no idea. You know we were talking earlier before going out “well you know it’s gonna be different”,
and whatever that phrase is you have [probably “overview-effect”] that you have a different view of things... it
doesn’t begin to explain, to describe, what for me... I mean everybody is gonna... but, and this is now the commercial,
everybody... it would be so important that everybody had that experience through one means or another. Maybe you can
put it on 3D goggles and have that experience, I mean that certainly is a technical possibility.
But what you need also... we’re lying there [in the capsule]... one delay after another delay we’re lying there... I
think how do I feel? I’m thinking, yeah, I’m a little gibbery here. And they move the fins, oooh there’s something in
the engine, they found an anomaly in the engine [laughing] “We’re gonna hold longer” Oh, you’re gonna hold a little
longer. And I feel this, you know, the stomach, the biome and such, and I’m thinking “ok, I’m thinking I’m a little
nervous here”, another delay, “I’m a little more nervous” and then the thing starts... by the way, the simulation,
is... they have to be... it’s only a simulation, everything else is much more...
Bezos: Doesn’t capture it.
Shatner: Doesn’t capture the... and besides what’s the jeopardy? Bang! This thing hits. You go “woah”, you know? That
wasn’t anything like the simulation. The G-forces and the stomach. What’s gonna happen to me? Am I gonna be able to
survive the G-forces? Am I gonna survive it? And then I think, good lord, you know just getting up the bloody gantry
was enough [laughing]. Oh my god, what an experience. Nothing... nothing...
Bezos: It looked like you had a moment of camaraderie with your...
Shatner: Oh we all hug each other. You know you share, it’s like being in battle together, really. And there is this
bonding of being in battle. But you’re also embattled inside yourself. Oh my goodness, I have had an experience.
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