NASA reveals the TV and movies shown on the ISS

When they’re not busy astronauting or speaking to their loved ones back on Earth, workers on the ISS need to occupy themselves somehow. Crew members get around four-and-a-half hours a day to themselves, plus weekends and holidays, and thanks to Mark Kelly’s tweet, we know that they have a pretty sweet-looking HD projector to keep them busy:

NASA reveals the TV and movies shown on the ISS

That’s the movie Gravity, just to contrast with the day-to-day monotony of the tasks onboard the International Space Station.

That tweet led Gizmodo’s Matt Novak to wonder what other films and TV shows the astronauts watch, and the resulting Freedom of Information request has revealed an exhaustive list of more than 500 classics and… not so classics.

While it’s pretty easy to draw attention to the amount of space material in the list (Aliens, Moon, Starship Troopers, Star Trek, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy), certain other anomalies struck me as odd.films_watched_on_board_the_international_space_station

Why, for example have they only watched the first three seasons of Seinfeld? The show finished 18 years ago – the same year the ISS entered orbit – so they’ve got no excuse for skipping the missing six. More baffling is The Office, where the astronauts watched seasons 1-3 and then 5, skipping season 4 entirely. They’ll have missed Dunder Mifflin Infinity.

Likewise, how did they watch Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa without seeing the first movie? I’m worried the crew may have missed out on the nuance without the context of the original.

Still, it’s nice to think of the astronauts up there having a morale-raising singalong. Not only is The Nightmare Before Christmas on the list, but also Les Miserables and West Side Story. It doesn’t say how many times each video has been broadcast, so I like to imagine they watch West Side Story every morning before starting work, and spend the rest of the day whistling “Tonight, Tonight”.

I’ve been through the whole list, and have only seen 64 of the films and shows broadcast 250 miles above the Earth. So more reason than ever for me to try and fast-track that whole “becoming an astronaut” thing, no matter how ill-suited I may appear.

Images: Markus Kniebes and NASA Goddard used under Creative Commons

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