What would you do if you were in the same room as the iconic filming model of Star Trek‘s original series U.S.S. Enterprise? Probably ask a million questions, giggle, and get just a little bit closer than you’re supposed to. Which is exactly what Adam Savage does when faced with the 11-foot-long, 200 pound Enterprise miniature behind the scenes at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. That’s the original NCC-1701 that flew through the opening credits after all, it’s understandable to geek out over it.
Savage isn’t the only one geeking out in the video above. He also brings astronaut Cady Coleman along for the fun. She might not understand the logistics of a filming miniature the way he does as a former member of the ILM model shop; however, she has logged more than 180 days in space so knows a thing or two about spacecraft. Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, who describes herself as curator of space science fiction objects (cool job alert!), shares some interesting insights throughout the video. This Enterprise was built to be photographed from only one side so there’s some asymmetrical detailing. Another fun tidbit is that a recent X-ray of the starship’s necelle used equipment from the nearby National Zoo.
The creative team behind the original Star Trek pilot built the model in 1964, mostly out of wood. Though it has been at the Smithsonian since 1974, a recent restoration rewired all the electronics and now the windows light up as originally intended. Adam Savage shined a flashlight into the Enterprise structure. In fact, he did the same thing when checking out another Star Trek filming model recently at a prop auction.
Savage and the Tested team have a whole Smithsonian playlist. It includes behind the scenes looks at plenty of historical crafts along with the museum’s science fiction ships from movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.