Star Trek turns 50!

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Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

Boldly going where no man has gone before

Who knew that a TV series that debuted on Sept. 8, 1966 would have such a lasting impact on the world? Star Trek premiered on that date "to boldly go where no man has gone before." Indeed, the U.S.S. Enterprise and its crew over the years since have changed wildly (through five TV series and 13 movies) to alter our perception of what space and space exploration might be. Here we take a little look some of the interesting history and events around the show.


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Stamp of approval

The U.S. Postal Service got into the 50th anniversary Star Trek by introducing Star Trek Forever stamps. The stamps showcase four digital illustrations inspired by classic elements of the television program,

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Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque

The Smithsonian take

Visitors to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum see the fully restored original USS Enterprise model from the 1960s "Star Trek" TV series in Washington in 2016. The USS Enterprise is one of the highlights in the museum's newly renovated and reopened Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the museum.

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Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

Goodbye Spock

Flowers and a picture of actors Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner as Star Trek characters Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk are placed by the Hollywood Walk of Fame star of Nimoy on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2015. Nimoy died after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

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Reuters/ Mario Anzuoni

The good old days

Actors William Shatner (L) and Leonard Nimoy pose for a photo during an interview for the 40th anniversary of the science-fiction television series 'Star Trek' in Los Angeles in 2006.

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Reuters/ Keith Bedford


A replica of the Klingon warship sits on display with other props from the television series "Star Trek" during a press preview of the auction "40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection" at Christie's auction house in New York, Sept. 29, 2006.

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Reuters/ Keith Bedford

More Klingons!

A Klingon mask used as a prop from the television series "Star Trek".

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Reuters/ Keith Bedford

The command center

The set of the bridge of the star ship Enterprise used as a prop for the television series "Star Trek" sits on display during a preview of the auction "40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection" at Christie's auction house in New York, Sept. 29, 2006.

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Reuters/ Keith Bedford

A true Borg

A Borg mask used as a prop from the television series "Star Trek" sits on display during a preview of the auction "40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection" at Christie's".

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Reuters/ Mark Kauzlarich

Selling it

Star Trek uniforms sit on display for sale.

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Reuters/ Fred Prouser

Walk of fame

"Star Trek" television series actors (from L) Leonard Nimoy, honoree Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei pose at unveiling of Koenig's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood on Sept. 10, 2012. Koenig is best known for his role on the television series "Star Trek" in which he played the role of "Ensign Pavel Chekov."

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NASA and Star Trek

The Shuttle Enterprise and Star Trek television cast members in this NASA handout photo dated September 1976. From left to right: NASA Administrator Dr. James D. Fletcher, DeForest Kelley (Dr. "Bones" McCoy), George Takei (Mr. Sulu), James Doohan (Mr. Scott), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), Gene Rodenberry and Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).

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Reuters/Todd Korol

A true Vulcan

Actor Leonard Nimoy (L) unveils a bust of himself with the mayor of Vulcan Tom Grant during Nimoy's visit to the town of Vulcan, Alberta in 2010.

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Reuters/Fred Prouser

Wax on

Canadian actor William Shatner poses as he unveils a wax figure of himself as character Captain James T. Kirk from the "Star Trek" television series at Madame Tussauds Hollywood in 2009.

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Reuters/ Mario Anzuoni

George Takei!

Actor George Takei gestures at the premiere of the movie "Star Trek" at the Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood in 2009.

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Reuters/ Jessica Rinaldi/

Quite the send off

A bagpiper watches over a memorial service to commemorate those whose ashes will be launched into space onboard the Legacy Flight in Alamogordo, N.M., on April 27, 2007. James Doohan's ashes, the actor who played "Scotty" on Star Trek.

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Reuters/ Jim Young

Star Trek onstage

Performers joke around as they prepare backstage for a performance of "A Klingon Christmas Carol" in Chicago on Dec. 20, 2012. The play is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale "A Christmas Carol" and is translated into the Klingon language and adapted to Klingon culture. Klingons are a fictional alien culture that originated from the Star Trek television series.

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Reuters/ Suzanne Plunkett

The captains

(L-R) William Shatner, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks and Scott Bakula, who all played Star Trek captains, at an event in London in 2012.

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Star Trek timeline

Chronology showing when each Star Trek TV series and films fall in place in the timeline of the fictional Star Trek universe, and when they were released. Includes factbox and illustrations of the starship Enterprise, with lists of major characters for each series.

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The originals

Cast of the original series of Star Trek William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Leonard Nimoy (L-R) as they pose with James Doohan during a photo shoot at the convention as part of the "Beam Me Up Scotty...One More Time, The James Doohan Farewell Star Trek convention & Tribute" at the convention in Hollywood on Aug. 29, 2004.

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Reuters/ Eriko Sugita

Star Trek bike?

The Star Trek original Enterprise bike, designed after the popular Star Trek series starship, is on display at Tokyo's Tepco Electric Energy Museum in 2003. The special collector's edition 50cc scooter was created to mark the video and DVD launch of Star Trek Nemesis.

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Reuters/ Ho New

The maze

A 32-acre maze dedicated to cult TV show "Star Trek" on a English farm near York in northern England. Tom Pearcy used satellite technology to help him design the huge maze at his farm to celebrate 40 years since the airing of the first episode of the show.

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Reuters/ Fred Prouser

NASA and Uhura

Actress Nichelle Nichols, who played the character Uhura in the original "Star Trek" TV series, poses at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., on August 2012.

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Space ashes

A rocket containing the ashes of 1960's LSD guru Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry is launched into orbit April 1997. The Pegasus rocket, launched from a Lockheed L-1011 jetliner over the Canary Islands, also deployed Spain's first scientific satellite. The ashes of Leary and Roddenberry joined those of 22 other space enthusiasts for the world's first space funeral.

The trouble with tribbles

An infestation of the little creatures.

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The U.S. Post Office wrote in commemorating Star Trek: “Beyond its impact on the entertainment landscape, Star Trek has also influenced our modern world by helping spark technological advancements such as the cell phone, universal translator, smart watch, tablet, sonogram and other inventions.” Indeed.