William Shatner, this past weekend, was awarded by NASA a Distinguished Public Service medal, the highest honor accorded civilians by the space agency. Star Trek's iconic Captain James T. Kirk accepted his medal in person on Saturday night, during his annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show in Los Angeles. The medal's citation noted that Shatner was honored for "outstanding generosity and dedication to inspiring new generations of explorers around the world, and for unwavering support for NASA and its missions of discovery." Bob Jacobs, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, Communications, presented Shatner with his medal.

Over the years, Shatner has served as something of an unofficial NASA ambassador and advocate. He's recorded messages for astronauts on missions in space and narrated NASA videos about the space shuttle program's 30th anniversary and the Curiosity Mars rover. A Canadian, Shatner also swapped tweets with astronaut Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency.

David Weaver, NASA's associate administrator for the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement, "William Shatner has been so generous with his time and energy in encouraging students to study science and math, and for inspiring generations of explorers, including many of the astronauts and engineers who are a part of NASA today."


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