LIKE the universe, former “Star Trek” star William Shatner’s waist continues to expand.

The 82-year-old actor’s belly has grown at warp speed, and concerned pals fear he’s running out of time to get his weight under control.

“Bill desperately needs to lose a few pounds,” a source close to the actor told The ENQUIRER.

“He just can’t seem to burn off the belly fat. He doesn’t work out as much as he used to…and he loves to eat.”

On Sept. 26, The ENQUIRER caught “Captain Kirk” with a very FULL belly after he stuffed his face at E. Baldi Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. And a few days later he was snapped at a Los Angeles party wolfing down enough fattening food to fill a black hole.

Shatner has made attempts to get in shape. In fact, in 2009 he told a reporter that his goal was six-pack abs and confessed: “I’ve got a twelve-pack.”

But a source said: “It’s more like a keg!”

IN 2010, The ENQUIRER reported that the 5-foot-8 actor had ballooned to a dangerous 245 pounds – and friends feared he was putting his life in jeopardy.

Shatner claimed he wasn’t overweight – just extra muscular.

Betty White also joked about his girth during a 2006 Comedy Central roast of Shatner, quipping: “Darling, you were supposed to explore the galaxy, not fill it.”

Despite the kidding, one source warned: “At his age, Bill really needs to take the weight off. He could have a heart attack.”