And the answer: Nichelle Nichols.
The trailblazing and iconic Nichelle Nichols worked with NASA to recruit women and people of color to the space agency. This led to the hiring of Guion Bluford and Sally Ride, the first Black American in space and the first American woman in space, respectively. The late actress’ portrayal of communications officer Nyota Uhura also inspired astronaut Mae Jemison, the first black woman to go to space in 1992.
Did you know?
Today, September 8, 2022, Star Trek Day is celebrated across the world! Although Star Trek is one of the most iconic franchises today, it began as a simple show about the cosmos. Viewership was low at first, and the show was actually canceled after several years! Thankfully, in 1969, returns of the show helped it amass a cult following.
Before Star Trek, science fiction was no more than tired ideas and cheesy practical effects. On September 8, 1966, few realized the impact that one small series would have on an entire genre—as it soon became rich with multi-layered drama, ethnically diverse characters, and real world issues. Despite its unpopularity in the beginning, Star Trek slowly but surely gained a loyal following over its many iterations, and has since been adapted in many forms.
Each episode of the original Star Trek starts with Captain Kirk recording an entry in his captain’s log. However, all the dates that he lists off are not based on our current Gregorian calendar. In fact, most of the “stardates” that Kirk mentions are arbitrary, created simply to emphasize that the series is set in the future. That being said, later Star Trek series have made it a point to be more consistent with stardates.
Learn more about the history and significance of Star Trek here.