Star Trek alum comes to town

Nichelle Nichols takes a picture with NASA employee James Mills at the Palmdale facility.

Nichols as Lt. Uhura in the 1960's TV series Star Trek.

PALMDALE – Actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek TV series, paid a special visit to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center Tuesday.

Nichols signed autographs and toured the aircraft and facilities in both Edwards and Palmdale. She also spoke to an audience of employees and guests about her career in acting, her work to promote opportunities for women and minorities, and her encounter with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., according to The Xpress.

Nichols said King was one of her biggest fans. She also credits him with convincing her to stay on the Star Trek series when she was thinking about leaving. Nichols said King was passionate about the importance of her role in Star Trek because the show showed people of many nations and cultures working together side by side and showed a future where people were judged solely on the content of their character and not by their differences.

Nichols was also instrumental in encouraging women and minorities to apply to become astronaut candidates. Her influence led to NASA choosing astronauts such as Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, and current NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, The Xpress reports.

Read more on Nichols’ visit to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards here.