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Star Trek and pop culture

This article is to list instances of significant recognitions of Star Trek's contributions to art, culture, and science.

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  • In 1976, US President Gerald Ford requested that NASA change the name of the first space shuttle from Constitution to Enterprise in honor of Star Trek and in response to a fan-based letter campaign to do so. Many of the show's cast members were there as the Enterprise was first rolled out onto the tarmac at Edwards Air Force Base while Alexander Courage's theme played in the background.
  • Mission Control computers have been called Scotty and Uhura.
  • The shuttle's on-board computer is named Spock.
  • The working name of the proposed sequel to the Hubble Space Telescope is "Space Telescope Next Generation".
  • Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, cited Uhura as an inspiration. She invited Nichelle Nichols to her launch and began each work shift in the shuttle with "Hailing frequencies open".
  • An unnamed shuttle astronaut carried Gene Roddenberry's ashes into space.
  • NASA hired Nichelle Nichols in the late 1970s to help recruit women and minorities into the space program as astronauts.
  • They have also created a special viewing window called the Window Observational Research Facility (or W.O.R.F. for short), on the Destiny module of the International Space Station that is equipped with state of the art sensors, and is also used to aide in educational outreach programs that are transmitted to Earth. The designers admitted in an issue of Star Trek: Communicator(citation needededit) who they were thinking of when they named it.
  • Certain of the features of Pluto's largest moon Charon that were identified in the 2015 New Horizons flyby were (provisionally) named after science fiction concepts. Specifically, a large planum has been called Vulcan, and notable craters at this planum Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Sulu.
  • In 2019, NASA announced that they had located a dune on Mars that resembled the Starfleet insignia. [1]


  • The National Air and Space Museum hosted the reception for the world premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Ralph McQuarrie's concept paintings for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Franz Joseph's original versions of the deck plans for a Constitution-class starship, and the fourteen-foot model of the original Enterprise are in the Smithsonian's collection.
  • The Smithsonian mounted a very popular exhibition in March, 1992 of Star Trek items.
  • The space shuttle Enterprise was housed at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy annex of the Air and Space Museum. It is now at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Manhattan.


  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully talked Nichelle Nichols out of quitting Star Trek in 1967, citing that her portrayal of a black woman in a position of power and equality was an important cultural icon.
  • In 1974, a fan legally changed his name to James T. Kirk.
  • Comedian Whoopi Goldberg has said that seeing a black woman sitting on the bridge of a starship, and not working as a maid, made her believe as a young girl that she could be a successful actress. (She said "I saw this show and screamed throughout the house. 'Mamma! Mamma! Come quick! Come quick! There's a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid!'"). Goldberg would later take the role of Guinan to be a part of the franchise that inspired her acting career.
  • The city of Vulcan, in Alberta, Canada, often holds small-scale Star Trek conventions, as well as having a small statue of the USS Enterprise-A.
  • The city of Riverside, Iowa holds a "Trek Fest" every year, which includes a themed Star Trek parade based on an original series episode. The city also showcases a Constitution-class "U.S.S. Riverside" statue, a "birthstone" marking the future birthplace of James T. Kirk, and a memorabilia museum called "The Voyage Home".
  • A number of Star Trek theme bands have also emerged, most notably in Sacramento, California.
  • Hip-Hop record label Star Trak Entertainment was set up by Star Trek fan Pharrell Williams, the name being a tribute to the show of which he is a fan.
  • The 1994 Museum of Television & Radio documentary Science Fiction: A Journey Into the Unknown, hosted by Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Dean Cain, and Carrie Fisher, was a brief history of science fiction on radio and television with segments on Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There was also commentary from D.C. Fontana and Michael Piller.
  • The Circle of Reason notes similarities between its espoused social philosophy of "pluralistic rationalism" and the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC plus logic depicted in the Star Trek backstory.
  • Linlithgow, a town in Scotland, has a plaque to honor Montgomery Scott, due to a non-canon source written by D.C. Fontana saying he was born there. [2] [3] The plaque was unveiled by Wende Doohan, the widow of James Doohan in the Annet House Museum.

Google doodle

  • The Google Doodle of September 7, 2012 was an interactive homage to Star Trek: The Original Series. By continually clicking on it, the viewer could watch "Kirk" and a redshirt reenact "Arena".
  • The following day, Oreo unveiled a parody of the Enterprise as their Daily Twist. [4]


  • In 2016, the "Klingon newt" (Tylototriton anguliceps) was discovered in Thailand. [5]
  • In 2017, a wasp with variable features was given the scientific name Phanuromyia odo, after the DS9 character. [6]
  • In 2017, a Manitoba man had his Borg-inspired "ASIMIL8" license plate revoked for being offensive to indigenous peoples. [7] He is considering legal action over the plate rejection. [8]

See also