Astronauts stuck in space need something to pass the time. Two years ago, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the website GovernmentAttic, NASA released a list of the books, movies, television shows, and music kept in the International Space Station.
The books on board include a standard canon of histories, science fiction, and action novels, but there are a few surprises. For example Michael Crichton’s anti-global warming novel State of Fear makes an appearance, and so does David Sedaris’s essay collection Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. The films include some great comedies, including Blazing Saddles, There’s Something About Mary, and National Lampoon’s Animal House, along side some truly terrible films like Rush Hour II, 50 First Dates, and the Ashton Kutcher thriller The Butterfly Effect.
In response to the list, the independent film organization The Shooting People complained to NASA, saying, “I felt that Caddyshack, Cheaper by the Dozen, and heaven forefend Beverly Hills Cop, might weaken the critical faculties of those on board, possibly even putting their lives and ours in danger.” The organization made some suggestions, including replacing Harold and Kumar with Harold and Maude and offering Man on Wire instead of Man on Fire.
NASA responded, thanking the organization for its input, and promising to pass the letter and the suggestions to the crew office “for further consideration.”
(Thanks, Scientific American.)