Sunday was "Star Trek Day," the day that fams celebrate the first airing of Star Trek on television. Star Trek: Voyager star Robert Picardo recorded a special video for the occasion. Picardo is a member of the Planetary Society, an advocacy group founded by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman in 1980. The organization supports projects related to space exploration and astronomy. The group counts Gene Roddenberry among its supporters.
In the video above, Picardo reveals that he uncovered a rare letter written by Roddenberry in 1980. Roddenberry addresses the letter to "STAR TREK Friends." It begins with Roddenberry revealing he's breaking one of his own rules by endorsing the Planetary Society to the Star Trek fandom.
"But now I am breaking with that tradition to tell you of The Planetary Society, an organization formed by Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray to encourage and popularize our exploration of the solar system and the search for extraterrestrial life," Roddenberry writes. "Let me tell you why. The essence of the STAR TREK missions are to discover, to learn more about our universe and to apply that knowledge to the benefit of mankind. STAR TREK is, of course, fiction. But its idea is very real and very important. It is this idea which The Planetary Society is devoted to and I believe they can help turn into a reality. If we humans are to continue our exploration of the solar system on a peaceful, rational and scientific basis, then it is important to demonstrate to the decision makers in our country that millions of us want our space programs to continue. To prove our point, all of us must join together in a focused effort, scientists and non-scientists alike, to insist that our elected leaders reflect our support of space exploration."
Roddenberry concludes by writing, "The links between science fiction and science are well established and I am very pleased to associate myself with the Planetary Society." You can see and read the letter at the Planetary Society's website.
According to the group's website, the Planetary Society's vision is to "Know the cosmos and our place within it." Its mission is "Empowering the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration." It has a membership greater than 60,000 people, representing more than 100 countries.
Picardo sits on the Society's board of directors. He's best known to Star Trek fans for playing the Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager. He revealed in a recent interview that he has been approached to return in the upcoming series Star Trek: Picard.
What do you think of Roddenberry's letter about the Planetary Society? Let us know in the comments.