Monday, February 19, 2007

Astronaut Wishes and Library Dreams

Billionaire software developer and soon-to-be space tourist Charles Simonyi says he'd like to see a library in outer space, Zee News reports. In an interview with Russian news agencies, Simonyi commented "Everywhere where humans are I think there should be a library. There should be books and there should be a library." Simonyi added that when he goes into space this April, he'll be carrying copies of Goethe's Faust and Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

"The latter 'describes a particular future where humanity gets outside the earth and it deals more with the politics of the situation than the particular (technology) involved,' he said, adding its a lot of fun.'

Faust, meanwhile, 'is a part of our literary heritage. It belongs to all of humanity and it deals with man`s relationship with the universe and man's relationship to science,' he said, adding that there was no better place than space to read both books.

As for why he should bring along heavy hard copies of the works in a age when nearly all things are virtually and weightlessly available, Simonyi insisted the books would be more practical, since special permission would be needed to use the computers inside the International Space Station (ISS)."

An extraterrestrial library, eh? Maybe someday, but if Simonyi's got some money he wants to throw around, I can think of some libraries right here on terra firma that could put his funds to good use.

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