On the International Space Station, You Can Watch Star Wars But Not Star Trek

In a stroke of weird genius, the people at GovernmentAttic.org issued a FOIA (freedom of information act) request to the US government to reveal the contents of the multimedia library on the International Space Station. Probably happy that they weren't being asked about the Patriot Act, the government happily complied, supplying us with a 13-page document containing the titles of every book, movie, and TV show in the ISS library. Not surprisingly there's a lot of science fiction in the mix, plus (of course) The Right Stuff. But there are some shocking choices in terms of what got put in — and what got left out.

Imagine if you will that you are on the ISS for a tour of duty. You can only bring a few things with you, so you're relying on the ISS library to keep you entertained. And you arrive only to discover there is ABSOLUTELY NO STAR TREK. That's right: you can watch every single Star Wars movie, every single Matrix movie (including Animatrix), every Lost episode, all the X-Men, tons of Stargate episodes, and even The Princess Bride (yay!). But no Star Trek movies. No Star Trek TV shows. WHAT THE HELL, people? Why does the government hate Star Trek?!

I really couldn't tell you, but I can tell you that the book selections are a little less mind-boggling. There's a heaping dose of Analog and Asimov's SF magazines, the Foundation books from Asimov, some Greg Bear, some Kim Stanley Robinson, lots of Jules Verne, and an incredibly large amount of Lois McMaster Bujold's novels. (Somebody at NASA must be a fan.) There's also an inexplicably large number of the Xanth books by Piers Anthony, in case you need to jumpstart your 13-year-old humor glands while in orbit.

But I'm still reeling over the Trek miscalculation. What is happening to the U.S. government? And by extension, to the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY on board the ISS? Really, I am in shock. I hope the guys over at TrekMovie can explain this because I can't. (Thanks, David!)

Check out the full list of goodies you can read and watch on the ISS, via GovernmentAttic. [PDF]