But NASA's fixation with STAR TREK has always disturbed me, very deeply. Not for any other reason except that NASA is REAL. This is space in all of its kind of "glory," if you will.
But the things we create in reality have always been inspired by our dreams and imaginations. This is the role that myths and legends have always played in our society: they've symbolized and codified the things we believe in, the things we aspire to and seek to build, and the things we fear and seek to avoid.
Or, to be less highfalutin about it, fiction like Star Trek
popularizes space in the minds of the public and helps build interest and support for NASA's work -- something that a government-funded agency needs in order to stay funded. And it can inspire people to go into space or science or engineering. Pretty much every female and "minority" astronaut NASA had for decades was recruited by Nichelle Nichols. If there had been no Lieutenant Uhura, the United States space program would've stayed the domain of white men for considerably longer.