Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The man from C.O.L.B.E.R.T.

We'd love to have overheard the discussions between NASA and "The Colbert Report," with the space agency trying to figure out a way to placate the Colbert Nation while getting out of actually naming their new space station node after the comedian. The solution? Honor Stephen with a treadmill on the space station. Hey, at least it wasn't a space toilet. The exercise equipment has the genius acronym C.O.L.B.E.R.T. (the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill) and comes with its own nifty patch -- see it here.

The node will be named Tranquility, something of an upset considering that Serenity, one of NASA's four pre-selected choices, polled #2 after Colbert, who scored an avalanche of votes after exhorting his viewers to write in his name. Serenity won the votes of many Joss Whedon fans (it's the name of the spaceship in his short-lived series "Firefly"), and we're guessing NASA didn't want to be seen as favoring one cultish fan base over another.

Will citizens of the Colbert Nation accept NASA's choice? Over at the rabid "TCR" fan site, people seem satisfied. "I admire NASA for the ingenious way they snuck the Colbert name onto the space station - it was both appropriate and not too pandering to 'Stephen''s ego," wrote one commenter. "I was disappointed when [astronaut Sunita] Williams said they chose Tranquility, and not much happier when she mentioned the treadmill, but when she recited the acronym I was totally sold on it," said another.

Watch the video segment here.