In Search Of: Spock’s Planet & Scotty’s Ashes

Two real life space and Star Trek related stories have cropped up this week. One about locating ‘Vulcan’ and the other about the disposition of James Doohan’s Ashes.

The red-orange dwarf star 40 Eridani is about 16 light years from Earth and is widely regarded as the actual location of the planet Vulcan. Although not strictly canonical, it is a notion that was endorsed by Gene Roddenberry. Now NASA are planning to use their new SIM PlaentQuest mission to try and detect and Earth-like planet around 40 Eridani. Because the star is dimmer than the sun, scientists surmise that a life sustaining planet would have to sit closer to the star than Earth (0.6 AU) More info at NASA

Almost two weeks ago some of the ashes of James Doohan (TOS: Scotty) were launched into space from New Mexico. Being that this was a sub-orbital flight, the plan was for the payload of ashes from Doohan and others to come back to Earth and be recovered. But like an unfortunate transporter accident, the capsule cannot be found. A spokesperson for Space Services, Inc. who conducted the flight told Reuters that they think know where the rocket came down, but that it is a difficult area to search and therefore the delay. "They know the general location, and we have the utmost confidence that they will recover it," said the spokesperson. More info at Reuters.

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Talkabout a colossal waste of money…. the man’s not even alive to know or appreciate the trip into orbit.

But if the ashes could be shot off into space, to drift forever or fall back to earth and be vaporised.. then that might a fitting way to honor someone’s memory.

What a great story about looking for Vulcan! I love that NASA has a division searching for ‘m class’ planets out there!!!


Aaron R.

Sorry I don’t have time to do a tip again, Anthony. Graduation here in two hours. Patterns of Force preview is up under the episode’s listings. Anyway…Scotty’s ashes are mising? I swear, if they end up on ebay, I’m gonna be mad.

They said his ashes fell in a jungle area wit rough terrain. Maybe his body is regenerated and he’ll just walk out of the area.

I’m sorry but I could not help think about star trek 2.

I think we may have a story line for Star Trek XII.

Some alien civilization in the distant future recover a capsule. Discover a white ash substance and determine it to contain DNA. Their technology allows them to create a sentient life form from this. Scotty lives?!

Use your imagination to fill in the rest.

Slightly off-topic, what is it with this site’s obsession to use plural forms where everyone else uses singular?

NASA are…
CBS have…

A trademark, an attempt to annoy Trek canonists and other perfectionists, bad grammar, just what is it? ;)

Love this article! both stories got my imagination going!

#6 The British speak the Queen’s English and therefore use collective nouns as plural in construction, while Americans tend to use collective nouns as singular in constructions. Don’t know about Ozzies, et. al.

6. Spirit

I has noticed this odd-sounding tendency as well…

#4 Yes, the jungles of SW Arizona….

That’s good to hear that NASA is looking for Earth-like planets. The next step, after finding them, will be to find a way to get there.
Space news and the exploration of space always renews my faith in humanity.
As to Jimmy Doohan’s ashes, I pray that they are located ASAP and NOT desecrated, i.e. sold on Ebay.

What the hell was i thinking….I need a vacation to regenerate my brain……..God I need rest.

Just as a side-note, the idea that Vulcan orbits 40 Eridani is now pretty close to canonical. In the 4th Season ENT episode “Home”, we’re told that Vulcan is 16 light-years from Earth. Coincidence? I doubt it. ;)

Did anyone actually read the NASA story — the article itself strongly ties into the Star Trek mythology, showing a picture of Spock, and mentioning Roddenberry’s endorsement of 40 Eridani as Vulcan’s star. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love that I’m living at a time in history when we can actually search for rocky, Earth-like planets around nearby stars. Maybe Trek and other SF has inured us to the wonder of it all, but I find it incredible that we now know there are definitely strange new worlds out there to explore. Very cool.

Scott B. out.

After hearing a lot of vague references to Doohan’s ashes going into space, I was surprised that it was a suborbital flight.

Some of astronaut Gordon Cooper’s ashes were also on this flight. Which makes me wonder why; he’s already orbited the Earth.

When the ashes of Roddenberry and Timothy Leary were launched, they orbited for six years or so before burning up in the atmosphere.

But the best space ashes award goes to astronomer Eugene Shoemaker; his ashes hit the Moon at 3,800 miles per hour when the Lunar Prospector was purposely crashed in 1999.

However, some of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes are aboard the New Horizons probe which did a gravity-assist slingshot around Jupiter in February and will go past Pluto in 2015 and then into interstellar space, so will presumably be the first human remains to leave the solar system.

It’s pretty cool to get your ashes hauled… into space.


“I has noticed this odd-sounding tendency as well… ”

Queen’s English is the older version! So therefore it doesn’t sound odd at all.

It sounds odd that you have changed it our language so much in only a few hundred years.