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Published:March 13th, 2009 10:48 EST
Fans Have Spoken, But Will The Name of Colbert Grace The Space Station?

Fans Have Spoken, But Will The Name of Colbert Grace The Space Station?

By Christopher HIllenbrand

Famous for his topical humor on the show "The Colbert Report", Stephen Colbert may also be known as the new title of NASA`s new addition to the International Space Station.


Colbert`s last endeavor outside entertainment found him heading a spoof presidential campaign this past election year which went nowhere. But since he`s set his sights on propelling his fame into and past the stratosphere.


As soon as NASA launched a web poll to vote on the new name of the room to be attached to the station by 2009`s end, Colbert invoked his fans to vote for his name as the title. NASA had originally mentioned the options of Serenity, Earthrise, Legacy, and Venture as possible appellations voters may choose from.


As of Tuesday afternoon, the tally has overwhelmingly gone to Colbert with almost 115,000 of the approximate 451,000 votes cast in favor for "Colbert". Serenity is a distant second with 98,641.


The unnamed space station room is dubbed Node 3 in the time being until the polls are closed. Still in construction, the room will contain many towering windows through which astronauts can see the extent of space as far as humanly possible. As a technological refinement for those aboard, a machine will be built into the room for converting urine into drinking water.


NASA isn`t condoning the e-community`s choice. John Yembrick, a spokesperson for the space administration stated that the name Colbert just doesn`t fit a cosmic theme. To support his observation, the United States` other attached rooms on the satellite are called Destiny, Harmony, and Unity. NASA hasn`t made an announcement as to whether or not they will respect the poll`s results. Voting for the new name officially ends on March 20th.


But NASA does have a stipulative final say in the matter anyway. In the disclaimer provided in the voting`s guidelines, NASA says their democratic process "(is) not binding on NASA and NASA reserves the right to ultimately select a name" just to preserve their image and the room`s objective as set by its other U.S. counterparts.


It`s unlikely that the NASA official in charge of space station operations, William Gerstenmaier just happened to be a guest on "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday merely by coincidence. Gerstenmaier declined to comment on what he confessed to Stephen Colbert after the taping concluded but he circumvented the matter by saying he enjoyed it "in an engineer way".


During the airing, Gerstenmaier said the concept behind the poll was to motivate people into being enthused about the space program. He also intimated that he hoped the agency wouldn`t be forced into reneging the ballet`s results and going with their own decision.


"We`ve got `til the 20th of the month... I`m looking for folks to be creative and think about what they`re doing."


 Should NASA enscribe the name of the revered political pundit onto its progeny, Colbert will now add a space station to the ice cream flavor, an eagle, and a Hungarian bridge to the list of items on which his name is found.