March 30, 2009

NASA Still Considering Space Station Names

NASA's attempt to drum up interest in the International Space Station started innocently with an online contest to name the station's new living quarters.

However, a comedian who poses as an ultra right-wing news commentator on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert, stepped into the act with an audience that has backed the U.S. space agency into a corner.

Colbert's supporters caste 230,539 votes for "Colbert" to be the new name of the $100-billion space outpost. NASA's suggested name, "Serenity," finished in second with only 40,000 votes.

Contest rules stipulate that NASA retains the rights to ultimately make the decision of the name, but it might not be that easy.

Last week, U.S. Representative Chaka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democrat, called on NASA to do the democratic thing and use the name that drew the most votes.

"NASA decided to hold an election to name its new room at the International Space Station and the clear winner is Stephen Colbert," Fattah said in a statement. "The people have spoken, and Stephen Colbert won it fair and square -- even if his campaign was a bit over the top."

NASA is still taking time to consider what to do next.

"We have a plan and we're working with some folks and in a couple of weeks you'll know what the answer is," NASA's associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier said.

Image Courtesy UPI


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