We do some crazy stuff in space, and send some crazy things into space, but we do send very sane and rational people into space to stuff and escort things. Like European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space. Cristoforetti is currently on the International Space Station and is obviously a big Star Trek: Voyager fan.
Check out this selfie she posted in her Captain Janeway costume:
“There’s coffee in that nebula”… ehm, I mean… in that #Dragon. pic.twitter.com/9MYrqIOXnI
— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) April 17, 2015
The coffee part is in reference to Janeway’s signature drink on the show and a quote from an episode where Janeway charts a course to nebula. It’s one of those things you know or it’s not worth explaining. Safe to say, it’s an on-the-surface reference and a deep cut at the same time.
The Star Trek cosplay is just an added bonus to what is already a stunning Twitter feed — because science — of photographs from space:
Buenos días Spain, you look nice from space! #HelloEarth / (IT) Buongiorno Spagna dallo spazio! pic.twitter.com/bfELTOOced
— Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) April 18, 2015
It also continues a decades-long relationship between the Star Trek franchise and real-life space travel. A decade after the original Star Trek series began, NASA unveiled the first test Space Shuttle and designated it “Enterprise.” Although the Shuttle never made it to space, it was integral in the developments of the programs that allowed Space Shuttle out-of-atmosphere flight possible.
One of those future Shuttle missions was the flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992, when astronaut Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space. Jemison had been a fan of the original Star Trek series where Nichelle Nichols portrayed Uhura, the Enterprises black communications officer.
Nichols and Jemison became friends after Jemison talked publicly about her Star Trek fandom (and when she was back on planet). The two even spent some time together on the set of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the then-airing Star Trek variant. Jemison wasn’t just the first African-American woman in space, she was the first real astronaut to cameo on Star Trek.
To sum up the cool loop between Star Trek and real women in space: the first TV African American woman in space inspired the real first African American woman in space who was the first astronaut on the show that spun off into a show that inspired the first Italian woman in space who was the first cosplayer in space to honor Star Trek: Voyager. Whew.
It’s a good thing they changed the opening monologue of the show between Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation to tweak the phrase: “to boldly go where no man has gone before” to “where no one has gone before,” because women are killing it on these final frontiers.