DNA From Star Trek’s Original Doctor Will Ride to the Final Frontier

Credits: NASA

DeForest Kelley played Leonard “Bones” McCoy in Star Trek. Now, his name has been added to the passenger list of a memorial spaceflight in honor of the original cast of the show.

Kelley played the Starship Enterprise’s physician during the show’s original run. He passed away in 1999 at age 79. Part of his DNA was extracted from a hair sample and was preserved all this time after he passed away. His DNA will be part of the “Enterprise Flight,” which Celestis, a Houston-based company, is organizing.

The company will send capsules containing the remains of those who passed away (ashes) and the DNA of thousands of people to space. The project may happen during the first quarter of 2023 as part of the first launch of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket.

The Vulcan launch has two different objectives. The first and primary directive is to send Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander to the Moon for a NASA mission. Once the Centaur has finished this task, it is meant to go on a “graveyard orbit” around the sun. It will contain the previously mentioned capsules.

DeForest Kelley is not the only one who’ll be paid homage in this space mission.

Other characters from the original cast, like Nichelle Nicols (Lieutenant Uhura), James Doohan (Scotty, the chief engineer of the Enterprise), Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Nurse Chapel), and part of the behind-the-scenes staff, including Gene Roddenberry, the series creator, and Douglas Trumbull, the man in charge of the special effects. The ashes and DNA of all these people were added to the Celestis’ mission a few months ago.

Carolyn, Kelley’s wife, asked Kris M. Smith, the late actor’s caregiver, to cut off a pair of locks of hair as mementos. Unfortunately, Carolyn died five years after his husband did, in 2004. Smith was in possession of the hair samples. She reached out to the Celestis team once the news about the Enterprise Flight went viral.

You can now access the Celestis website where fans of the show and everyone else can send their names and be included in the flight as diminutive text lines. This process is available for free, but you can also add a photo or a message if you pay a fee.

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