The original Star Trek series (1966-1969) saw Captain Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise run into strange creatures ranging from the menacing Gorn to the meddlesome Tribbles. But perhaps the strangest form of life they found was probably a group of renegade space hippies in the season three episode called The Way to Eden.

The 23rd century version of flower power involved disaffected youths trying to return to a state of nature. To do that, the hippies - including a Starfleet Academy dropout, a dissident university professor, folk-rock singers and other stoner stereotypes - steal a spaceship and search for the mythical planet Eden, where they hope to live free from the concerns of technology. (And probably spend their days smoking Romulan marijuana).

When picked up by the Enterprise, the hippies entertain Kirk's crew with some pseudo-60s tunes that parody the era's protest songs and counterculture ideals. And at one point, Spock even breaks out his Vulcan lute to join in the campy fun. If that premise isn't silly enough for you, check out the full episode, which ends with a heavy-handed message when the rogue commune arrives at Eden.

Sadly, the crew never stumbled upon the space hippies again. But maybe the dropouts will drop by to serenade the Enterprise once more in Star Trek Beyond, the third instalment of the rebooted franchise which opens this weekend. If not, treat yourself to some of the group's groovy tunes.

Banner image: Spock and Kirk in Star Trek IV, (geraldford / Flickr.com)