Anson Mount made an impression on Star Trek fans with his portrayal of Captain Christopher Pike, captain of the USS Enterprise, in Star Trek: Discovery's second season. He reprised the role in episodes of Star Trek: Short Treks and will play the character again as the lead in the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery spinoff series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. In the meantime, Mount is searching for alien life in the real world. This week, Mount announced he'd joined the board of Messaging Extraterrestrial Life (METI). This international non-profit research organization creates and transmits messages into space, searching for life on other planets.
"It is a distinct privilege to be asked to join the outstanding scientists, artists, and innovators that make up the METI team," Mount said in a statement. "I look forward to helping this organization expand its footprint in our cultural landscape and educate the general public about our endeavors to connect with extraterrestrial intelligence through scientific methods as we continue to grapple with the implications of this work. As a Starfleet Captain, it brings me unbridled joy to be able to say that I am actually sending out a hail."
Founded in San Francisco in 2015, METI is an extension of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The most significant difference between METI and other SETI organizations is that most only listen for signals from extraterrestrial cultures. METI sends signals to nearby stars in the hopes of receiving a reply.
"If other civilizations are simply listening, and not transmitting, we'll never make contact if we limit ourselves to standard SETI strategies," said Douglas Vakoch, the president of METI. "We're delighted to welcome Anson to METI's leadership team as we continue to reach out to other worlds, letting them know we want to make first contact."
Mount will soon return to searching for new life and new civilizations in the Star Trek universe. While production on all live-action shows was affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Discovery is now in production on its fourth season. That clears the path towards Strange New Worlds filming in early 2021. Strange New Worlds follows the Enterprise in the years before Captain Kirk's five-year mission, with Mount's Pike in command. He's joined by Ethan Peck as Mr. Spock and Rebecca Romijn s Number One. Co-creator Akiva Goldsman has said that the series will have a classic Star Trek flavor, with optimism and episodic storytelling.