Good bye, Mr. Nimoy. Thanks for sharing Mr. Spock with us.

I read that Leonard Nimoy died yesterday. How sad. He was a great actor and person. The media today is full of stories of Nimoy’s death and of his life achievements.

Nimoy’s passing caused me to reflect on the Star Trek TV and movie series. I am a great fan and have always been enamored by Nimoy’s portrayal of the character Mr. Spock. The friendship between Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk was especially fascinating. No two people could be farther apart in personality yet the closest of friends.

One of my favourite movies is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It is a great story and does a wonderful job depicting the close relationship between Kirk and Spock. The Kirk-Spock relationship reminds me of one of the crew mates from my International Space Station expedition.

Like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, Frank de Winne and I are near opposites in background and personality. Frank is a military pilot (having once ejected from an F-16); I’m a medical doctor. Frank has stereotypically liberal European perspectives on many issues while I am a reserved, diplomatic Canadian. Frank can be cynical at times; I’m a glass-is-half-full sort of guy. Our ideological differences mean that we often get into animated discussions on various topics.

In spite of our differences, Frank and I are the closest of friends. We respect each other and enjoy each other’s company. What bonds us is our common belief in the value of the space program. And having worked together under arduous conditions toward our mission objectives has cemented that bond.

I am no Mr. Spock and Frank is no Captain Kirk. Star Trek is fiction and its characters are ideal people whom we can never hope to emulate. But in some respects, they are good role models for us to uphold – even though fictional.

The last words between Kirk and the heroic, dying Spock in The Wrath of Khan movie are:

KIRK: Spock!
SPOCK: The ship – out of danger?
KIRK: Yes.
SPOCK: Don’t grieve, Admiral – it’s logical: the needs of the many outweigh …
KIRK: … the needs of the few …
SPOCK: Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test – until now. What do you think of my solution?
KIRK: Spock!
SPOCK: I have been … and always shall be … your friend … Live long … and prosper.

What great dialogue! Classic.

The best colleagues in the world’s best organizations uphold these same ideals regarding mission objectives and friendship. Good bye, Mr. Nimoy. Thanks for sharing Mr. Spock with us.

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