Nichelle Nichols Will Rest Among the Stars

Nichols' son has donated a portion of his late mother's ashes to be launched into space alongside Gene Roddenberry and other Star Trek luminaries.

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Nichelle Nichols in a NASA flight suit doing the Vulcan salute
Screenshot: NASA

On board a rocket named the Vulcan, a symbolic portion of Star Trek legend Nichelle Nichols’ ashes (donated by her son, Kyle Johnston) will be sent into space as a part of a deep-space trip that will honor many Star Trek luminaries. Gene Roddenberry and his wife, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, James “Scotty” Doohan, and VFX pioneer Douglass Trumbull will also be represented in the Celestis flight.

There is also a memorial available on the Celestis website for any fans who wish to celebrate Nichols’ life and pay tribute to the Star Trek star, as well as an opportunity to send in writing, music, photos, scripts, and any other kind of media. (Fanfic writers, I’m looking at you to represent!) According to the press release, “all names and messages will be digitized and launched with her on her journey” using the “Celestis Mindfile,” which is a suitably Star Trek name.

Nichols famously played Nyota Uhura on Star Trek, and was an instrumental force for good on television and in the real world. An activist as well as an icon, she worked with NASA to promote more diversity within STEM fields and used her position to promote representation and civil right across the board. Nichols passed away on July 30, 2022.


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