NASA honored iconic actor William Shatner with its highest award bestowed upon civilians Saturday, the Distinguished Public Service medal. Shatner received the citation while attending his own Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Los Angeles, which raises money for children's causes.
The medal cited Shatner for "outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery."
Best known for his role as Captain James Tiberius Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series, Shatner has been somewhat of an informal spokesman for NASA over the past few years, issuing a Star Trek-themed wake-up call to the astronauts of the Discovery mission STS-133 in 2011. In 2012, the actor recorded a message for the occupants of the International Space Station, and also narrated a video regarding NASA's Curiosity Mars rover:
David Weaver, NASA's associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement, "William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today." Weaver added, "He's most deserving of this prestigious award."
Shatner, 83, was born on March 22, 1931, in the Côte Saint-Luc neighborhood of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and has shown support for his home country's space exploration efforts. Last year he traded tweets with astronaut Chris Hadfield, Canada's first space station commander.
@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 3, 2013
Shatner's latest artistic endeavor is a reality show called The Shatner Project, which is set to premiere some time this year, and will be a five-episode series in which the actor and wife Liz will gut their 1970′s-era California home, and remodel it. Commenting on the new series, Shatner states, “I am embracing change. Our home will be unfamiliar territory for a while but I am excited by all of it.”
Image via NASA