But Most Popular Agency Suggestion Doesn't Get Nod, Either
Say what you will about NASA... they ain't predictable. On
Tuesday, the space agency announced the name for its latest module
destined for the International Space Station... and no, it's not
"Colbert." But it also isn't the name many were expecting,
Although the announcement was made on the comedian's "The
Colbert Report" program on the Comedy Central cable network, NASA
did not bow to popular (and even congressional) pressure to honor
the results of its own online poll, in which the faux-conservative
pundit's last name dominated the voting.
"We don't typically name US space station hardware after living
people and this is no exception," Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's
associate administrator for space operations, told The Associated
Instead, a new station treadmill will be named in honor of the
comedian... but more on that in a minute.
As ANN reported, a staggering 1,190,437 people
voted or suggested names for the module. Of the names submitted by
the public, "Colbert" got the most votes. NASA's suggested names,
in order of popularity, were "Serenity," "Legacy," "Earthrise," and
"Venture." Of the four, "Serenity" was the overwhelming favorite,
receiving 70 percent of the votes.
And yet, instead of 'Colbert' -- or "Serenity" -- Node 3 will
now be known by another write-in candidate: Tranquility, in honor
of the Sea of Tranquility, site of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Astronaut Sunita Williams said the name was the eighth-most popular
While we expect more than a few Joss Whedon fans will be at
least somewhat disappointed with NASA's choice, few could argue
"Tranquility" isn't a natural for the third major habitat module on
the station, along with predecessors Harmony and Destiny.
As for Colbert, his name will now grace an updated exercise
treadmill slated for installation onboard the station later this
year. But don't call it a mere treadmill... instead, refer to the
device by its NASA-approved moniker -- the Combined Operational
Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.
"We have invited Stephen to Florida for the launch of COLBERT
and to Houston to try out a version of the treadmill that
astronauts train on," Gerstenmaier added.