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Life in space: Just like '2001'!

Tom Jackson • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

I've always loved science fiction, so it got my attention when NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman -- describing his three-month trip to the International Space Station this summer -- talked about switching on his iPod to play "Blue Danube" as his space shuttle maneuvered around the International Space Station.

As every Arthur C. Clarke fan knows, one of the most visually arresting scenes the classic science fiction movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey" shows spaceships maneuvering into position to dock as Johann Straus II's "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" plays on the soundtrack.

After Reisman spoke Wednesday at NASA Plum Brook Station, he took questions, and I followed up on his "Blue Danube" anecdote and asked him if any of his moments in space reminded him of any science fiction movies or books.

Reisman replied that as the Space Shuttle Endeavour neared the space station on March 15 to dock with it, "watching it get bigger and bigger, that docking sequence in 2001 was on everybody's mind. Everybody commented on it as we approached."

The incident inspired Reisman to play "Blue Danube" when he left aboard another shuttle, the Discovery.

Poignantly, Clarke died on March 19, only days after Reisman and his companions had their 2001 moment.

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