Stars for Mars
Morgan Freeman, Will I. Am., Angie Dickinson, Nichelle Nichols and a host of celebrities gather at JPL during Curiosity landing
By Carl Kozlowski 08/09/2012
While eyes around the world were focused Sunday night on Curiosity, NASA’s latest rover to land on Mars, Jet Propulsion Laboratory workers in Pasadena were treated to star sightings of a different kind, with a number of celebrities attending the historic event at the Pasadena space lab.
At least 15 television, music and film celebrities, some with artistic connections to space and science, watched Curiosity make a picture-perfect landing on the Martian surface.
Among the Hollywood dignitaries was June Lockhart from the 1960s TV show “Lost in Space,” who mingled with Nichelle Nichols, aka Lt. Uhura on “Star Trek,” while “Big Bang Theory” producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady also awaited the mission’s finale.
Cult-favorite actor Wil Wheaton of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was spotted among the crowd, along with famed Rat Pack gal pal and “Police Woman” star Angie Dickinson, “Men in Black” director Barry Sonnenfeld and mega-producers Peter Guber and Mark Tinker. Rounding out the actors in attendance were Morgan Freeman, Abraham Benrubi, Seth Green of “Family Guy” and Jay Ferguson of “Mad Men,” according to a JPL spokeswoman.
Representing the music scene were country singer Beth Nielsen Chapman and Will.I.Am. of the Black Eyed Peas.
Eminent government visitors, including former Vice President Al Gore and former governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, were present at the landing of the rover Opportunity on the Martian surface in 2004. But there was no word on any official dignitaries attending Sunday’s event, the spokeswoman reported.