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Catching Up With Dr. Mae Jemison

Catching Up With Dr. Mae Jemison

The worlds of science, space exploration and science-fiction collided the week of May 24, 1993, when Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, guest starred on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Ensign Palmer in the episode “Second Chances.” LeVar Burton directed that episode, his first ever, and it was he who’d invited Dr. Jemison to appear in it. The worlds of science, space exploration and science-fiction will collide again September 13-16, 2012, when LeVar Burton, Nichelle Nichols, Dr. Jill Tarter, Miles O’Brien (no, not THAT one) and other notable figures – beam down to Houston, Texas to participate in “Transition to Transformation… The Journey Begins,” a public symposium presented by Dr. Jemison’s forward-thinking organization, 100 Year Starship, or 100YSS. recently caught up with Dr. Jemison, who found a few minutes in her hectic schedule to talk with us about 100YSS, her friendships with Burton and Nichols, her memories of shooting “Second Chances,” and more.Give us a preview of the 100YSS 2012 Symposium…

LeVar Burton will be on that panel…

Speaking of pieces coming together, September 12 will mark the 20th anniversary of you becoming the first African-American woman to travel in space, which you did aboard the shuttle Endeavour. How fresh is the memory of that experience?

Let’s talk about “Second Chances.” What was your reaction when Burton reached out to you about appearing in the episode?

What about Burton? That was his first time behind the camera…

Did your work on Trek give you the acting bug or did you know then and there it’d be a one-off, fun thing?

World of Wonder