This is the last “Back-Blog” post to catch up on the adventures of our second large North America filming tour that ended this past Fall. We had thought we had wrapped up our shoot following interviews with Kevin Grazier of “Gravity” and “Battlestar Galactica”, and Cariann and Benjamin Higginbotham of SpaceVidCast. However, on our last evening in Los Angeles, Paul and I received an e-mail that Michael Okuda, graphic art designer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space 9, might be available. (That news really cheered me up as later that evening I beat up the rental car but still had the interview to look forward to)
As Chasing Atlantis explores the connection that myself, those around me, and the space community at large have with space itself, we inevitably visit our love of science-fiction that inspired our initial interest in space. Star Trek also has a very tangible connection to the actual space program. Many of the astronauts and engineers we interviewed cited Star Trek as the reason why they went into space sciences. As a kid, I had a copy of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual in my room. It was easily the book I picked up most often. It’s burgundy cover was folded and creased with sci-fi love and hours of wanting to remember every detail that I could about the design, look, and feel of the USS Enterprise both inside and out. The book detailed the technical aspects of the ship’s systems such as shields, phasers, and warp drive. It was also filled with insightful and humorous anecdotes from the cast and crew of the show. That book helped make Trek seem that much more real. (I also might have memorized exactly how many times the speed of light you were traveling at every warp factor).