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Over the weekend, the crew aboard the International Space Station raised eyebrows with their choice of movie: "Gravity," the harrowing, Oscar-winning film about two astronauts fighting for their lives after their space shuttle is destroyed. Perhaps more newsworthy was the fact that the real-life astronauts were watching it on their new 65-inch screen. No, they didn't have a TV shipped into orbit from Best Buy. It's the first projection screen in space, specially designed for use on the ISS with material that rejects ambient light, maintains its form in zero gravity, and resists stains from floating pieces of food.
Paired with a 1080p laser projector, the screen, designed by Austin, Texas--based Screen Innovations, will be used for displaying data, video conferences and, yes, movie night. It's also pretty compact: The whole thing can be rolled up into a tube that is only 2.5 inches in diameter. When astronauts want to watch a terrifying movie about people drifting through the cold, dark emptiness of space, they simply have to roll out the screen and clip the corners with specially designed bungee cords. Before it was shipped to the ISS earlier this month, they had to rely on 13-inch tablet-like displays. Now, astronauts finally get to watch things on a big screen.
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