Where Colbert Goes,
Now Angels Fear to Tread

When Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert won NASA’s online poll to name the International Space Station’s third habitat node, the agency invoked a contest rule allowing it to pick the name regardless of the vote. Though if Firefly fans bet NASA would choose Serenity, the second most popular name – they lost!

Colbert had threatened to become “space’s evil tyrant overlord” if he didn’t get his way. NASA mollified him by dispatching astronaut Sunita “Suni” Williams to announce the chosen name during his Tuesday broadcast. SeattlePI.com reports that NASA reached down to eighth place in the poll and chose “Tranquility”, a name that refers to the Sea of Tranquility, Apollo 11’s lunar landing site.

But NASA did throw Colbert this bone:

On Tuesday’s The Colbert Report, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams announced that Colbert will get his small piece of immortality after all, as the organization voted to name a treadmill on board the space station after him.

The treadmill in question will heretofore be known as the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT). Williams explained that treadmills are vitally important to astronauts, as they use them to prevent bone-strength loss while in space.

Another Chance at Serenity

Firefly fans urge you to visit NASA’s poll and cast a vote to name the International Space Station’s new habitat node “Serenity.” They’ve dominated the early results – “Serenity” has received 82% of the votes to date — but there’s almost a month to go. Voting will be open until March 20th, 2009.  NASA will announce the winning name in April 2009:

NASA wants your opinion in naming the International Space Station’s Node 3 – a connecting module and its cupola – before the two segments travel to space and are installed on the orbiting laboratory. The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.

Maybe it’s this generation’s answer to the campaign that named the first Space Shuttle “Enterprise.”

[Via ConDor YahooGroup.]