William Shatner is still reeling from his trip to space: 'We all need a wake-up call'

William Shatner can now say he's gone boldly where no man (his age) has gone before – and he's still reeling from the emotional experience.

A day after his historic visit to space, he appeared virtually on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and said the trip offered him a "wake-up call."

"The message is … we all need a wake-up call every so often in our lives where your life is threatened by something. You may have a near accident or somebody you love has died," he told Fallon Thursday. "And all of a sudden you look at your life and say, ‘Wait a minute, what’s important here?' "

Those things, he said, include caring, loving and "doing something about" our planet that is "going to be inundated." 

"I was overwhelmed by all the things we need to do and the loves and the losses. It was an enormous moment for me that I never expected," he shared.

On Wednesday, the "Star Trek" veteran became the oldest person to visit space. At 90, the actor joined Blue Origin, founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2000, for its second human spaceflight. Shatner and three others were launched in a New Shepard rocket from the aerospace company's West Texas launch site just before 11 a.m. EDT. 

The crew safely landed back on Earth several minutes later, when Shatner could be heard saying the experience was "unlike anything they described." All four passengers on board gave a thumbs up to the recovery crew upon landing to indicate they were OK. 

Bezos greeted the passengers with a double thumbs-up outside the landing capsule, followed by the passengers' family and friends, who cheered and applauded. 

"In a way it's indescribable," Shatner told Bezos. "Not only is it different than what you thought, it happened so quickly. The impression I had that I never expected to have is the shooting up: There's blue sky –" he paused as Bezos sprayed a bottle of champagne. 

"Star Trek" actor William Shatner gestures as Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen looks on after their Blue Origin flight to space on October 13, 2021.

More:William Shatner remembers 'Star Trek's cancellation as 'a low point in my life'

"Everybody in the world needs to do this. Everybody in the world needs to see it," Shatner continued. "It was unbelievable. The little things – the weightless – but to see the blue color (of the sky) whip by you and now you're staring into blackness. … And then it's gone. It was so moving. This experience did something unbelievable. " 

An emotional Shatner reiterated to Bezos how in awe he was of what he saw and how it prompted him to consider life and death. 

"What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," he told Bezos. "I hope I never recover from this." 

Viewers can watch back the launch at USA TODAY's live stream of the event.

In this still image taken from a Blue Origin video, New Shepard NS-18 mission crew members (L-R) Blue Origins Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, Audrey Powers; "Star Trek" actor, William Shatner and Medidata Solutions Co-Founder, Glen de Vries, ride to the launch pad on Oct. 13, 2021, before lift off from the West Texas region, 25 miles north of Van Horn.

Shatner, best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the "Star Trek" franchise, said in a press release on Oct. 4 that he had "heard about space for a long time now" and was "taking the opportunity to see it for myself." 

But Shatner also admitted to being nervous to go to space. 

"I'm terrified!" he said during New York Comic Con last Thursday, according to Space.com. "I know!...I'm Captain bloody Kirk and I'm terrified!" 

The launch had been scheduled for Tuesday but forecasted high winds prompted a delay to the following day. Blue Origin announced prior to the launch that it would last just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reaching a maximum altitude of about 66 miles before parachuting back into the desert.

'Best day ever':Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin rocket touch down after historic spaceflight

Along with Shatner, the spaceflight passengers in Blue Origin's second human spaceflight included Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations Audrey Powers, a former NASA engineer and tech entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen and the founder of a clinical trials software company Glen de Vries. The latter two passengers paid for tickets for the flight – Blue Origin has not publicly disclosed the price of tickets, though Bezos has previously said totals of tickets sold were nearing $100 million

A statement on Blue Origin’s website added that New Shepard NS-18 met all mission requirements and the astronauts were prepared through training.

Blue Origin's first human spaceflight launched on July 20, when it flew Bezos, Bezos' brother Mark, Mercury 13 aviator Wally Funk (formerly the oldest person in space) and 18-year-old student Oliver Daemen (son of a hedge fund manager) to suborbital space. 

More:William Shatner is heading to space. Here's how much it would cost you.

Contributing: Rob Landers, Florida Today; Marcia Dunn, Associated Press; Martha Pskowski, El Paso Times; Amy Haneline, John Bacon and Emre Kelly, USA TODAY