Chalk one up for Steven Colbert, kind of.
NASA announced Friday afternoon that astronaut Sunita Williams will appear Tuesday on "The Colbert Report" to unveil the name of the newest node for the International Space Station.
From everything NASA has indicated, the node probably won't be named for the comedian. It likely will be dubbed "Serenity," based on the official voting results on NASA's site.
NASA ran an online contest earlier this year to name the node. The agency's official suggestions: Earthrise, Serenity, Venture, and Legacy. But NASA also (naively, perhaps) stated that the public could offer write-in votes.
Colbert is known for using his show's wildly dedicated fanbase and online social media to rally support for such acts as repeatedly altering Wikipedia's entry on elephants and running for president. And he decided to rally his fans to name the node for him.
Write-in votes for Colbert eclipsed all others, which NASA does acknowledge. But his entry falls under only the Top 10 suggestions list.
"We received more than a million entries, in large part because social media Web sites and television programs, such as 'The Colbert Report,' took an interest. This spread overall awareness of the International Space Station," Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations at NASA headquarters, said in a statement.
"I certainly hope NASA does the right thing," Colbert has said. "Just kidding, I hope they name it after me."
According to NASA, Node 3 is a "pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems." Those include oxygen generation, temperature and pressure controls, oh-so delightful urine reclamation, and shower and toilet facilities. Node 3 is set to launch in late 2009.
Considering NASA has chosen to unveil the name on Colbert's show, there must be some twist to it all. Comedy Central itself is playing with the idea that NASA will name a space toilet for Colbert.