The Doctor was always grumbling about how unsafe space was. How disease ridden it was, how it was just danger after danger waiting in the void to kill them. Pavel Chekov didn't share the older man's ideas.
Pavel thought that space was beautiful. That it was full of wonder and opportunity to discover great and simple things. The sight of the stars zipping past, and the amazing kaleidoscope of nebulae and galaxies that splattered over the view screen soothed him with their hypnotic beauty.
He could sit on the observation deck for hours off shift, imagining the worlds he would visit over the course of this five-year journey. He could hear Captain Kirk's voice in his ears, "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before", like it was a soul saving mantra. He believed it as well. With his entire being Pavel believed that theirs was a good mission and they would better the galaxy in both scientific knowledge and cultural understanding.
Space had once birthed the universe, where nothing had been before. Even with his highly intellectual mind, Pavel found it difficult and oddly disturbing to contemplate the 'before time', as he was wont to refer to it as. He didn't want to think about the nothing that would have been. He wanted to think about the galaxies he plotted courses through, the stars that he used as gleaming reference points in a sea of colorful blackness.
Space had birthed the Milky Way. Had thrust that gorgeous whirling galaxy out into the cosmos without whim or plan. Space had birthed the not at all special star that in turn collected entirely insignificant planets in orbit around it. Space had birthed the Earth, and in turn the first amino acids in pools of primordial soup which coalesced into the first inklings of life.
The Doctor was wrong. Space wasn't death.
Space was life.