The crew on the International Space Station even got to see the Star Trek movie before I did. That's right, NASA "Beamed" it up after Paramount Pictures reformatted it in a way that it could be wired up to the space station and watched on a computer. The global village is spiraling into the suburbs of space. (I wonder how much that cost, and if they could roll that into their box office receipts somehow??)
The Times Online says: "The station’s resident Trekkie, American astronaut Michael Barratt, had specifically requested the film after realising that orbiting the earth in a space module was the perfect environment to watch the early adventures of Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the crew on board the Starship Enterprise."
Barratt said the Star Trek series is what inspired him to be an astronaut, and he especially liked that he's sort of living today's version of the Star Trek lifestyle: “The International Space Station is a real step in that direction, with many nations sharing in an adventure the world can be proud of,” he said.
He's not kidding. He watched the movie with Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, and Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ... they strapped their feet to the floor to stop them floating during the screening.
And when the Space Shuttle program is retired next year, American astronauts will have to count on Russian Soyuz capsules to travel to and from the ISS.
The Space Station is stocked with movies and books but no DirecTV (why not, I ask?) ... I found a list online ... don't you think they've already all seen all the Star Wars Movies? Or the Stargate series? Those are on there. So is A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Bachelor Party.
But I digress. The President also got to see the Star Trek movie in the White House screening room, and he said he liked it.
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"Obama as Spock: It's Quite Logical" calls the original series "a cultural comet. From its tiny, ancient core -- a mere 79 episodes, airing before we set foot on the moon -- a seemingly infinite tail has grown..."
It goes on to note Spock's charisma, and his amazing problem-solving skills and logic. Not only that, but he's intergalactically bi-racial: half human, half Vulcan.
"Like Spock, part of what makes Obama so appealing is the fact that although he’s an outsider -- "proudly alien," as Leonard Nimoy once put it -- he uses that distance to cultivate a sense of perspective."
So anyway, the President saw the movie and told Newsweek that he thought the film was good. In a Q&A with the magazine, the President said Everybody was saying I was Spock, so I figured I should check it out and—(the president makes the Vulcan salute with his hand).
I guess that means he doesn't object to the characterization, although I doubt he much likes this picture.
Anyway, this whole space theme today started when the early (5am) producer threw in a live picture of the Atlantis mission as the spacewalk was getting underway around 5:20 our time. I like to have the NASA page bookmarked for just such an occasion, if the picture is spectacular (and it usually is) but there's no talking, to be able to explain what the astronauts are doing and who they are so we can keep the picture up longer.
You can watch what's going on up there, here on Nasa TV. I've also been following the first Tweets from space as Astronaut Mike Massimino has been on Twitter -- you can check out his posts here. (The latest one, as I write this, was 2 minutes ago: "From orbit: Hard to sleep last night after my spacewalk, images of the work and the views still vivid in my mind."
We've come a long way since that "one small step" for man ... check out the YouTube video from one of the Astronauts on their first full day in space.
The YouTube page ReelNASA is characterized as "one small click:"
NASA made its boots for walking on the moon. Those boots not only left an impression on the moon's dusty surface but also on the minds of millions of people.
The men and women of the space program are working hard to build upon those historic steps. The once giant leap of mankind will now be the stepping stone for even greater giant leaps as the moon one day becomes a pit stop on the road to beyond.
Pink Floyd dared to ask: is anybody out there? NASA dares to answer this question.
Roll cameras! These reels show the action behind the real story at NASA.
The NASA TV is very cool, but there's a sort of renegade, behind-the-scenes feel to these YouTube "vlogs" that really makes space travel accessible. (At the end of this video, the disclaimer: "remember, this is unedited and we're not professionals.")
At one point in this video (about :30 in) astronaut Drew Feustal is asked if there's any reason he has sunglasses on mid-deck where there's no light, no sun? He mugs the camera and says "cuz they look COOL!" As if being an astronaut isn't cool enough.
Editor's Note: What exactly is the right stuff? If you're between 64 and 76 inches tall, willing to relocate to Houston and familiar with the challenges of hyper- and hypobaric atmospheric pressure, you're on your way to a career as an astronaut.