Late last month, George Takei visited NASA's Johnson Space Center to speak about leadership and inclusiveness at an event sponsored by the Agency's "ASIA" and "Out & Allied" resource groups, which represent the Space Center's Asian-Pacific American and LGBT employees, respectively.
According to NASA:
Takei was an inspiration to many through his struggles as a member of both the Asian-Pacific American and LGBT community. He reflected on his childhood hardships of living in Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during WWII, his experiences later in life surrounding the politics of Proposition 8 in California and marrying his partner, Brad Altman, on Sept. 14, 2008.
Takei said [the world of Star Trek, which featured] so many diverse people successfully working together as a team, was so fanciful for its time that [Gene Roddenberry] had to set it three centuries in the future, but it's amazing that not even three decades later astronauts from around the world began working together on the International Space Station. From space exploration to diversity to marriage equality, Takei thanked the revolutionaries he referred to as "change agents" for all of their hard work.
"You're the ones doing the real work," Takei told his audience. "You're the heroes of our time. You are the ones that are the reality to our fiction."
In the picture up top [click here for super hi-res], Takei can be seen flashing the Vulcan Salute alongside Robonaut 2, NASA's next generation "automaton astronaut." A version of Robonaut is already stationed aboard the International Space Station, where NASA intends to use it as a helpful companion on future space missions. [Via JSC]