I have a sequence of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, and I was able to time it properly with the Earth’s orbit. If you triggered the start of the symphony at a certain moment, all four movements of the symphony somehow fit with what you’re looking at out the window. There’s a period in the symphony with a lightning storm and the darkness and the wind and the storm. For some reason, we happened to be flying over the African continent at night at that moment, and there was a lightning storm. There was a whole chain of lightning storms that were firing lightning bolts all throughout the African continent at night. It was almost perfectly matching to the music, and then at the last moment, which is when the sun comes and the calm after the storm — we had just happened to be coming out of the South Pacific and the sun came over the horizon, and it was just the perfect timing for the beginning of the fourth movement. I tell you, it was almost like Beethoven, he must have been there. He would have written much more beautiful music than he already did if he had the chance to fly in space.
Excerpt from a Washington Post interview with Franklin Chang Diaz, NASA’s first Latino astronaut.