It’s not exactly where no man has gone before, but it’s just about the closest humanity has to it. According to Deadline, video game developer Richard Garriott has revealed to the Sunday Times that, while traveling to the International Space Station in 2008, he allegedly brought with him ashes belonging to actor James Doohan, best known for his turn as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the harried engineer of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. Doohan passed away in 2005 at the age of 85.
According to Garriott, he was contacted by the actor’s son Chris Doohan while preparing to visit the International Space Station via Russia’s Soyuz TMA-13 mission, for a self-funded 12-day stay, making him one of the first private citizens to do so. Garriott received the cremains, but claims there wasn’t enough time to put them through the official process needed to bring objects aboard the flight. Subsequently, he secreted several laminated photos of Doohan, which contained some of his ashes, onboard, and covertly slipped one of the cards behind the cladding in the floor of the station’s Columbus module.
“It was completely clandestine,” Garriott told the Sunday Times, which also published video of him with the card on the station. “His family were very pleased that the ashes made it up there but we were all disappointed we didn’t get to talk about it publicly for so long. Now, enough time has passed that we can.” A second card was reportedly jettisoned into space by Garriott, and a third returned to Chris Doohan. A separate sample of the actor’s ashes was launched on a SpaceX rocket in 2012.
“Richard said, ‘We’ve got to keep this hush-hush for a little while,’ and here we are 12 years later,” said the late actor’s son. “What he did was touching - it meant so much to me, so much to my family, and it would have meant so much to my dad. My dad had three passions: space, science and trains. He always wanted to go to space.”