The ashes of Star Trek actor James Doohan, who played Enterprise Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, have been orbiting aboard the International Space Station for 12 years — and it’s all thanks to prominent game designer Richard Garriott.
The son of an astronaut, Garriott famously booked a flight to the ISS back in 2008. Travelers into space are strictly limited in what kind of personal effects they can bring with them, but on that trip, Garriott managed to smuggle up “a laminated picture of Doohan and some of his ashes and put it under the floor of the Columbus,” according to the Verge.
The secret was known only to the Doohan family and Garriott, who said that “we were all disappointed we didn’t get to talk about it publicly” but now figured that “enough time has passed that we can.” Some of Doohan’s ashes had already been to space, having been placed aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 in 2012.
It’s a cool story, to know that the remains of a sci-fi television pioneer have made it to the “final frontier.” My takeaway, though? That Garriott was able to put something “under the floor” of the ISS where it stayed undiscovered for a dozen years. That (or maybe this) is the sort of thing that would drive a chief engineer like Scotty nuts.