Comedian Stephen Colbert wins NASA space station name contest

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Comedian Stephen Colbert has topped a NASA poll to determine the name of an International Space Station module.
Image: Kelly Martin.

American comedian Stephen Colbert has won a NASA contest poll to determine the name for a new wing on the International Space Station.

After using his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report to call on fans to vote in the contest, the write-in name "Colbert" topped the poll with 230,539 votes.

NASA officials said they ultimately reserve the right to choose an appropriate name, but have said top vote-getters will receive "the most consideration". The final decision will be made in April.

Almost 1.2 million total votes were cast in the contest, which ended Friday. "Colbert" received more than 40,000 more voters than the second place runner up, "Serenity", which was one of the choices NASA put forward.

Colbert has mocked the NASA suggestion on The Colbert Report, saying, "Come on, Serenity? That's not a space module, that's a Glade plug-in."

The contest rules say NASA has the right to choose a name "in accordance with the best interests of the agency." The rules also say, "Such name may not necessarily be one which is on the list of voted-on candidate names."

Other modules on the space station are named Unity, Harmony and Destiny.

NASA insiders have told if they choose not to name the module after the comedian, they may consider naming the station's new $19 million toilet "Colbert" instead.

Colbert, who plays a narcissistic political pundit on his satirical show, has called on his fans (known as "The Colbert Nation") to help have other things named after him in the past.

Among his other namesakes are Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, the mascot of the Saginaw Spirit junior ice hockey team in Michigan; Stephen Jr., a bald eagle born at the San Francisco Zoo; Aptostichus stephencolberti, a species of trapdoor spider; Air Colbert, a Virgin America airplane; and AmeriCone Dream, a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor.