NASA names treadmill after Colbert

April 15, 2009 By JAKE COYLE , AP Entertainment Writer

(AP) -- One small step for NASA, one giant running leap for Stephen Colbert.

NASA announced Tuesday that it won't name a room in the international space station after the comedian. Instead, it has named a after him.

earlier held an online contest to name a room (or "node") at the . With write-in votes, the name "Colbert" beat out NASA's four suggested options: Serenity, Legacy, Earthrise and Venture.

On Tuesday's "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, astronaut Sunita Williams announced that NASA - which always maintained it had the right to choose an appropriate name - would not name the node after Colbert.

Instead, Node 3 will henceforth be called Tranquility, the eighth most popular response submitted by respondents in the poll. The node's name alludes to where Apollo 11 landed on the moon - the Sea of Tranquility.

NASA and Colbert compromised by naming a treadmill used for exercising in space after Colbert. NASA, itself an acronym (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), often names things so they spell out something fun. And that's what they did with the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT).

Sophisticated treadmills are crucial for living in space for long periods of time, as do on the space station; they help keep astronauts fit and their bones from losing strength. Williams ran a marathon on one while living at the space station in 2007, jogging in place to coincide with the Boston Marathon.

The COLBERT treadmill is a new version that will be operational in August, NASA spokesman Mike Curie said.

"We don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception," Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations, said, adding: "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."


On the Net:



AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: NASA holds module naming competition

Related Stories

NASA holds module naming competition

October 18, 2006

NASA is asking U.S. students in kindergarten through 12th grade to help name the next U.S. International Space Station module.

NASA Astronaut to Run Boston Marathon in Space

March 29, 2007

NASA astronaut Suni Williams will go faster than anyone has ever gone in the Boston Marathon. She will run the famed race in April as an official entrant from 210 miles above Earth aboard the International Space Station. ...

Space Station video now live on Internet -- mostly

March 11, 2009

(AP) -- NASA has started beaming live video from just outside the International Space Station, but there's a catch: The online feeds are available only when the station's crew is asleep or off duty.

Recommended for you

Getting into the flow on the International Space Station

December 1, 2015

Think about underground water and gas as they filter through porous materials like soil and rock beds. On Earth, gravity forces water and gas to separate as they flow through the ground, cleaning the water and storing it ...

Exiled exoplanet likely kicked out of star's neighborhood

December 1, 2015

A planet discovered last year sitting at an unusually large distance from its star - 16 times farther than Pluto is from the sun - may have been kicked out of its birthplace close to the star in a process similar to what ...

Cassini mission provides insight into Saturn

December 1, 2015

Scientists have found the first direct evidence for explosive releases of energy in Saturn's magnetic bubble using data from the Cassini spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian ...

Timing a sextuple quasar

December 1, 2015

Quasars are galaxies with massive black holes at their cores around which vast amounts of energy are being radiated. Indeed, so much light is emitted that the nucleus of a quasar is much brighter than the rest of the entire ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 15, 2009
Typical - note the B.S.!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.