Asteroid Named for 'Heroes,' 'Star Trek' Actor

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Although George Takei is an actor, he really does have a connection with outer space.

The "Star Trek" and "Heroes" actor has had an asteroid named in his honor, report news sources.

The asteroid, situated between Mars and Jupiter, was previously named 1994 GT9 and was renamed 7307 Takei by the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature. Mount Holyoke College astronomy professor Tom H. Burbine suggested the name change.

This turn of events makes Takei, 70, the third "Star Trek" person to receive the honor. He joins creator Gene Rodenberry with his 4659 Rodenberry asteroid and Nichelle Nichols (who played Lt. Uhura) with her 68410 Nichols. Other asteroids have previously been named after Elvis Presley, Joe DiMaggion, Isaac Asimov and sci-fi writer Robert Heinlein.

According to the Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website, 7307 Takei was discovered by two Japanese scientists in 1994. Takei snags the naming honor not only for his stint as Hikaru Sulu on "Star Trek" but also for his "lengthy record of public service through his involvement with organizations such as the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign."

Takei is an openly gay actor who is best known for playing Sulu on "Star Trek." He has also appeared on "General Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless." He's loaned his voice to "The Simpsons," "Batman Beyond," "Futurama," "Samurai Jack," " Jackie Chan Adventures," "Kim Possible" and "Mulan." He was also hired as the official announcer for the "Howard Stern Show" on Sirius Radio, on which he occassionally discusses details about his private life with his partner of two decades, Brad Altman.

On NBC's hit drama "Heroes," Takei plays the father of Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), the hero who can bend space and time.

For the orbit determination parameters and other sexy information on the asteroid, search "7307 Takei" at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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