A personal tribute was last week paid to the crew of the NASA space shuttle Discovery - by none other than Star Trek icon William Shatner. The actor, who played Starship Enterprise captain James T Kirk in the show, recorded a special message for the crew, who - along with the shuttle - returns to Earth on March 9.
Shatner surprised the returning astronauts, imitating his famous voiceover from the opening credits of Star Trek and announcing that the Discovery had boldly gone and done what no spacecraft had done before. Truly, a case of life imitating art.
Star Trek can certainly be credited with influencing the prevailing attitude of positivity towards space travel in the 1960s. The revolutionary and innovative adventures of Kirk, Spock, Scotty and the crew of the Enterprise set a blueprint for sci-fi culture in only three seasons on TV.
Much like the Star Wars franchise, the inspiring travails of the fictional crew of Star Trek have been perennially popular with collectors for decades. With some of the prices achieved at auction, an early investment in Star Trek memorabilia would have been very wise.
For example, Shatner's iconic red Starfleet Officer's uniform - debuted in 1982's 'Wrath of Khan' feature film - sold for a whopping $44,812 in 2010.
Even more impressive was the odd and eerie Balok puppet, featured in the closing credits of each original Star Trek episode: it more than doubled its high estimate to realise $70,000.
Other notable sales have included a 'computer screen' from the bridge of the 1960s Enterprise - sold for $14,000 - and arguably the most memorable prop of all: Spock's pointy ears. These legendary lobes were purchased for a mere $3,000.
With another era of cosmological endeavour ending, it is worth remembering that the memorabilia related to space travel - both real and fictional - not only provide great memories, but could make you a profit in the long-term.
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