ISS Node 3: Colbert clause

By Phil Plait | March 23, 2009 7:03 pm

I am getting swamped with notes from folks saying that the new node to be put on ISS next year will be named "Colbert".

But it’s not that simple.

As you may recall, NASA opened up a contest to name Node 3, a connecting module to be put on the International Space Station next February. The name "Serenity" (awesome!) was doing very well, and then my arch-enemy Stephen Colbert started asking his Nation to send in votes.

Next thing you know, there were 230,000 votes for "Colbert", 40,000 more than for "Serenity". But this is not over, because NASA was smart in the original contest. Check out Contest Rule #4:

NASA will take into consideration the results of the voting. However, the results are not binding on NASA and NASA reserves the right to ultimately select a name in accordance with the best interests of the agency, its needs, and other considerations. Such name may not necessarily be one which is on the list of voted-on candidate names. NASA’s decision shall be deemed final.

I’ll watch Colbert tonight, and I’m sure he’ll claim victory. But that clause means NASA doesn’t have to use the winning entry! Of course, it would be smart in a PR way for NASA to name it "Colbert" — and even if they don’t, I just bet the astronauts will, informally — but we’ll see. I’m still holding out for the right choice. After all, like the man said, you treat her proper, she’ll be with you for the rest of your life.

A good vision for Node 3 on ISS

Serenity logo courtesy collinrego’s Flickr photostream.


Comments (98)

  1. I really don’t think Colbert will mind if NASA decides on another name. His on-air persona is that of an arrogant glory hound so he’ll definitely make a huge deal out of his voting victory and rib NASA if they don’t use it. But he and his fans are ultimately doing it for a gag and I highly doubt anybody will be upset if the new node is called Serenity.

    Though you never know, NASA likes publicity so they might just name it the Colbert Node and send someone to his show to present an official plaque or something like that. Which could actually be a pretty cool idea and a way to make space travel both fun and get it in the news cycle as a top story for a few days.

  2. Maybe they could officially name it Serenity, but appease the Colbert (be sure to pronounce the ‘t’) Nation by installing a a small plaque with the unofficial name (like Christie Whitman did for the “Howard Stern Rest Stop” on the NJ Turnpike).

  3. Lee Ann

    I have a problem with the node being named after an individual that is still living. It’s one thing if we wanted to honor someone, but it’s another if it’s feeding someone’s ego.

    What would be next? The Bill Gates node? Or the Trump node?

  4. What’s wrong with the ISS getting a “Colbert bump?” If they name it Serenity no one will notice or care. Boring…

    If it gets Colbert’s name he will keep the ISS in the public eye for ages. NASA could use a little more fun publicity. The got it right with Phoenix on Twitter and some of their other media 2.0 experiments.

    Surely, there are much better things to rave about.

  5. Joe Albietz

    I predict NASA will name it Serenity, but give Colbert a nod by naming something else after him. I can see it now: “Houston, the mission specialist is reporting that the Colbert is out of space toilet paper.”

  6. The best thing Colbert did was drive traffic to a NASA site. Yes, the “Colbert bump” hit the space agency. I don’t think NASA should pick Colbert, but they should give Stephen some kind of props. Maybe the Colbert Hatch on Serenity?

  7. Davidlpf

    So if something goes wrong we ca say it is the Colbert.

  8. Eliot

    Someone should try to get NASA to get Colbert admit that the Moon Landing happened in order for the chamber to be named after him. It would make great Publicity. Colbert is pretty friggin’ popular as you have probably figured out by now.

  9. Davidlpf

    oops suppose to say “we can it is in the Colbert”

  10. Personally, I prefer “Serenity”, but that’s purely because that name carries a certain depth. It’s not just about Firefly, serene is what this node is going to be, what with the ESA Cupola attached. I’d much rather be viewing the terrestrial vista from “Serenity” than a node named after a (albeit popular and funny) comic.

    Fingers crossed for Serenity!

    Cheers, Ian

  11. Kevin

    @Greg Fish: I wouldn’t be too quick to say Colbert’s fans “are ultimately doing it for a gag.” Some of them probably believe everything Colbert says on his show. They don’t know it’s a comic persona. They are not as smart as those in the PL (the “Plait Legion”). :)

    I know I was on some of the Firefly/Serenity/Browncoat boards every other day pushing/reminding people to vote for Serenity.

  12. Becca Stareyes

    The folks on the online forum gaiaonline are also trying to get it named ‘Gaia’.

    I have to say, I voted for Serenity both for being a Firefly fan and because I thought it was the best of the options for synergy.

  13. maybe they could name one of the hatches after Colbert? 😉

  14. mk

    If it gets Colbert’s name he will keep the ISS in the public eye for ages.

    Jesus! Please name it “serenity” then!

  15. liquidmorpheme

    I’ve got to call this one out — Firefly may have been an entertaining show killed before its time, but it was sloppy, soft-core sci-fi, and the movie was absolutely derivative (in the way that says “I do not have my own ideas”) and ultimately terrible and cruel to the fans. Not to mention the fan base isn’t really large enough to reflect the wishes of the nation at large. I don’t see why we need to immortalize that on the ISS.

  16. Colbert Module being the piss misprocessor? Seems harmless.

  17. “Some of them probably believe everything Colbert says on his show. They don’t know it’s a comic persona.”

    Those people truly scare me because after his speech at the press dinner in which he mercilessly went to town on the administration they should have no doubts.

  18. Regardless of the competition rules which gives NASA final say on the name I reckon there may be rules, if not laws, that would disallow naming a NASA module after a commercial entity. Probably for the same reason we don’t have the Coca Cola ISS for example.

  19. So they name it Colbert, and Stephen crows about everything the ISS does every time something happens, keeping its achievements in the public eye, much like he did when he was tracking Colbert Jr, the young bald eagle, that migrated back and forth to Canada.

    This is bad for what reason? I loved Firefly too, but Stephen Colbert can keep this thing in his followers’ faces. Work with him, and he can be a motivating force for things the ISS needs funding for.

  20. You mean Colbert is not a real reporter????

  21. Couple days after he got his minions to start writing in his name, he had a satellite hook-up with one of the guys at NASA responsible for the contest. When Colbert pressed him about whether they would name the module after him, he kind of waffled and said they would take all viewpoints into account and choose the name accordingly. I think that was NASA-speak for “don’t get your hopes up, you narcissisitc troll”.

  22. MadScientist

    Let’s vote to call it ‘Sagan’ – since Carl is long gone, he can’t complain.

    On the other hand, Carl Sagan was brilliant, and useful – the ISS might be a disappointment.

    How about the ‘Dilbert’ instead? It rhymes with ‘Colbert’, Dogbert, Catbert, Birdbert … With a really silly name (and I mean even sillier than ‘Colbert’), the performance of the module can’t possibly disappoint.

  23. Was that Firefly quote always intended to be darkly ironic? Seeing as how the length of “the rest of your life” can pretty much be determined by how well you take care of your spececraft.

    How about “Stephen Colbert’s Alpha Squad Seven: Crisis on the Serenity Module – A Tek Jansen Adventure”? Would that fit on a plaque?

  24. Grinspoon

    Colbert is a supporter of Nasa. How many other chat shows have had live hook up interviews to the ISS.

    It’s be cool if they did do some sort of acknowledgement, but yeah actually just naming it Colbert while hilarious, i understand why not to do it.

  25. SDR

    If they reserve the right to call it whatever they want, why even have the poll in the first place? Sounds like a bullshit publicity stunt which I think should turn off all fans of space exploration and be a black mark on NASA. Even with the caveat that they might not use the chosen name, it still seems an untruthful stunt at best.

    I don’t know why I’m so bothered by this. It’s not that I specifically want Colbert’s name to be on the piece of the station. It just seems wrong somehow for NASA to even ask the people if it really means nothing in the end and never would unless it was what they wanted. Then really, it’s no different than them never having asked us at all.

  26. KC

    >it was sloppy, soft-core sci-fi

    Booo! :-) Like Star Trek or Star Wars is any better!

    Seriously “Serenity” really was the most appropriate of the names suggested.

  27. Blu-Ray-Ven

    ohh frak why not, and while were at it lets have a howie mandel node, and a dane cook node. and nodes named after the american idol judges. and an octomom node, how bout a node for every frakin celebrity and Hollywood mouthpiece

    i agree with MadScientist, no point in naming it after some one useful to science since science isnt “popular”.

    and i couldent say it better then Drksky “When Colbert pressed him about whether they would name the module after him, he kind of waffled and said they would take all viewpoints into account and choose the name accordingly. I think that was NASA-speak for “don’t get your hopes up, you narcissisitic troll”

    just one more reason on my list of why i hate colberT

  28. JHill

    Are you suggesting that the ISS is a death trap?

  29. Tim

    If NASA is smart, they will take advantage of the PR and name the new toilet Colbert and pick a different name for the new module.

  30. Colbert is a type of cheese, isn’t it?

    Maybe the Wallace & Gromit module?

  31. …actually, I’m not so sure he’s all that narcissistic. I think he does stuff like this just to see if he can get his fans to pull it off, cause he thinks it’s funny that the salivating dogs will do anything he asks them to. I really believe that he goes back to his dressing room after something like this just sniggering to himself that he can’t believe it actually worked.

    I think that was the whole point of his presidential campaign attempt.

  32. José

    “I wouldn’t be too quick to say Colbert’s fans “are ultimately doing it for a gag.” Some of them probably believe everything Colbert says on his show. ”

    Reading some of the comments, I think that it’s people who aren’t fans that don’t get it’s a gag (or maybe they’re bears). Anyway, I seriously doubt there are many fans who don’t get it.

  33. deep

    I highly doubt anyone actually believes anything Colbert says on the show…but then again I also thought that no one believed him to be an actual narcissist. I guess he does his impersonation so well that he is the crazy right wing news anchor version of a poe. I do think the press is great and is something that NASA definitely needs if they want a future (especially among higher educated youth- Colbert’s audience). Although, naming it after a living person might not be a good idea if it fails in some way. Having a death trap named after you can’t be a good thing…

  34. Steve

    This is like that bridge Colbert tried to get named after himself a while back.

    In other space news, please teach Obama how to pronounce Orion! It’s embarassing 😛

  35. tacitus

    There’s absolutely no way NASA will name the module Colbert. As Shane already pointed out, they’re not going to name anything after a commercial enterprise, and The Colbert Report is very much a commercial enterprise (for Viacom).

    But I do like the idea of a installing a plaque with Stephen Colbert’s name on it — that will ensure continued publicity for NASA, the module, and the ISS on the Colbert Report, and everyone wins. If they can stick the plaque on something “appropriate” all the better :)

    Serenity will be the choice. It fits in well with the other two named modules — Unity and Harmony.

    Serenity Now!!

  36. viggen

    The last thing NASA really needs is to be a punchline in a joke for a bunch of people who don’t give a damn about spaceflight. We are a bunch of fools if we go to Mars and get radioed back the message “The Stewart has landed,” or maybe “The Limbaugh has landed,” just in the name of “ratings.”

  37. StevoR

    “If they name it Serenity no one will notice or care. Boring…”

    Hey! I care. As do zillions of other firefly fans! Thatwas agreat show, ok abit Sapcewsetern but greatdialogue, great plots, interesting charactesr .. it’s waa-ay ahead of Star Trek in my opinion anyway! 😉

  38. StevoR-Correcting

    That’s :

    That was a great show, ok a bit of a Space western but great dialogue, great plots, interesting characters .. it’s waa-ay ahead of Star Trek in my opinion anyway!

    Liked the future vision with Chinese-English mix too …

    As for the movie : *I* loved it! 😀 😛

    @ liquidmorpheme : Are you being serious or just a troll? have youever actuallysen either the movie or the TV series? Coz your review is loctaed at a point exactly opposite my opinion of both.

  39. As a non US resident… who is Colbert?

    The toilet can’t be called the Colbert, I understand that receptacle is already called the Coulter (I’ve heard of her…)

    Where can I vote, I’d go for Serenity.

  40. Safir

    They can name it Colbert, thats fine. I’d rather have a whole spacecraft named Serenity instead of a puny module!

  41. Wolter

    Colbert might have gotten the most votes but does it comply to this:
    “The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.”
    I don’t think so…

  42. kevin halse

    copypasta from Fark:

    “They should name the Cupola the “Colbert Bump” and have Colbert out as a VIP for the launch of Node 3 and the Cupola.”

  43. Houston, we have a Colbert!



  44. UmTutSut

    At first, I thought the “Colbert” entries were a sad waste of perfectly good electrons. Then I remembered NASA spacecraft names have occasionally reflected pop culture. “Molly Brown” (unoffical for Gemini III), “Snoopy” and “Charlie Brown” on Apollo 10, and of course the test orbiter “Enterprise.”

    I’d prefer NASA give the node another name; “Serenity” would be another bow to pop culture and be consistent with the other nodes. I like a previous poster’s suggestion to name the urine recycler “Colbert” and give the new node another name.

  45. It would be utterly lame, for “Colbert” to win so handily, and have “Serenity” be the name. I’m a huge Firefly fan, but fair is fair.

  46. The only point liquidmorpheme has, is that yeah, we have to admit that Colbert is much bigger than Firefly. It truly didn’t have enough time to get as large a fanbase.

  47. Gonzo

    Oh man . . . both names are too cool for school.

  48. I like Colbert and everything, but come on. When it comes to space, Colbert needs to back off and leave it to Serenity. His fans should not be allowed to cross over into our ‘verse!!!

  49. Steve wrote: In other space news, please teach Obama how to pronounce Orion! It’s embarassing 😛

    @ Steve: that depends. It might actually be the correct pronounciation. Orion is a name of Greek origin. You Anglo-saxons maltreat your Greek pronounciation horribly. You say AYE where the Greek pronounces it as EE.

  50. pronounced, not pronounces, sorry.

  51. I cringed when I saw the show where he told his fans to start writing him in, cause I knew he would quickly take over the top slot.

    That said, while I think he deserves a nod from NASA simply because of the free publicity he brings to the agency, I don’t think the name “Colbert” goes along with the spirit of exploration or with the current module-naming theme.

  52. I’m not a fan of Firefly (nor of any Joss Whedon series), so I don’t mind so much if Colbert wins. However, I do question whether or not the name is appropriate – Colbert, that is. Say what I will about the show, the name “Serenity” is an awesome one. I hope NASA finds some way to keep Colbert involved, though – he’s a figure who can bring a lot of attention to the agency.

  53. Stan9FOS

    I say split the difference & name it “Steve.”

  54. Daniel Solis

    Compromise: Name the module Serenity, but name a window, port, arm or some other part of it Colbert. An arm would be awesome if they put a wriststrong bracelet on it.

  55. Timothy from Boulder

    “I’d prefer NASA give the node another name; “Serenity” would be another bow to pop culture”

    Only for the handful of people who choose to make that association; no more than “Enterprise servers” are a pop culture nod to Star Trek.

  56. jb

    why not make Colbert happy and at least put his name on the new water recycler.. I just hope the water doesn’t taste “funny” when it is done :)

  57. Hoonser

    If NASA’s going to open up a contest then decide against the most popular name because they don’t like it, then maybe they should stop having these contests.
    Plus considering this is actually drawing attention to NASA from people who previously didn’t care about them, one would think this might be a good thing for the organization.

  58. @ Marco:

    In ancient Greek the “eye” sound was “ee,” was it not? Hence, modern “Delphee,” vs. ancient “Delpeye”?

    είσαι Έλληνας;

  59. Maybe a good idea for the NASA to learn from this soap-competition and add another contest-rule in future competitions: “It’s forbidden to give names of persons who are still alive”.

  60. SpotWeld

    Maybe they can name the docking hatch door handle (or space toilet) after Colbert…
    You know, some part of the station that every astronaut will appreciate having.

  61. Spot on SpotWeld. I had the same thoughts to name the toilet after him.

  62. The Other David M.

    You know, Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf won People Magazine’s online poll for World’s Most Beautiful Person way back in 1998. It’s not like this is anything new. If you allow write-in votes, you are asking for something like this. They should suck it up and name the node after Colbert.

    Politics is one of the main reasons that the ISS is up there in the first place. Naming a node after a political commentator actually makes some amount of perverted sense.

  63. Austin

    Just as an FYI, Colbert isn’t new this week. We’ll all get to see him gloat on Monday.

    And to those of you saying naming it “Colbert” is wrong because he’s a commercial entity, I do seem to remember a movie from a couple years back named “Serenity,” how is that not a commercial entity as well?

  64. Gary Ansorge

    What I don’t understand is how some of the(seemingly intelligent) posters here don’t seem to understand the difference between Colbert as a satirist of the right wingers vs a right wing satirist,,,
    ,,,part of his persona is ACTING like an ego freak,,,

    From what I’ve seen of his show over the last two years(and that is virtually EVERY show), he’s one of the most brilliant comedic satirists since Ambrose Bierce.

    ,,,maybe it’s just my over active right hemisphere that makes him appear so funny to me.

    Naming anything on the ISS after Colbert would certainly ensure a continuing high profile for the ISS and NASA and I fail to see how that would be a bad thing for the Skeptical Nation.

    Gary 7
    PS: Firefly(ignoring the FTL departure from this solar system) is likely a whole lot closer to the way society would develop in a wild west, space oriented, solar system wide culture(though they tended to minimize space pirating). Remember, this solar system is millions of times bigger than this old earth. Plenty of room for lots of conflict(which is the essence of any good story).

  65. Gary Ansorge


    Note to NASA,,,”Pull the stick out, Dudes. Learn to bend over and laugh,,,”

    GAry 7

  66. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    “Serenity” is the cooler of the names, but I wouldn’t kick “Colbert” either… too hard.

    I have a problem with the node being named after an individual that is still living.

    Do you really think Colbert will have such a big media-active half-life? Or are you proposing to help him become honored? 😉

    Though it may be bad, this might be the moment the critical Colbert jumped the shark, or – worse – the media thirsty ISS venture jumped the Colbert.

    it was sloppy, soft-core sci-fi, and the movie was absolutely derivative

    I have only seen the movie so far, and anything that portrays the volume and physics of space truthfully (no ftl drives possible, no sound), even large amounts of putative technology, isn’t as sloppy as the majority of the rest. And the portrayed social-technological possibilities in a populated solar system was believable too, with technological and organized core-worlds versus resource deprived and anarchistic out-worlds.

    As for the story, I saw a lot of nods to other scifi. But the main story, a sociologically perverted threat explained by a biological experiment gone awry, was rather original I believe. Very different from, say, biologically unbelievable zombies of for example Resident Evil. (But please correct me if I’m wrong.) Or as original as AFAIU a wrap up of a series with a huge fan base can be.

  67. Serenity is not much of a bow to pop culture. Sorry but it’s true. Firefly was on and off the air faster than you can change the channel. Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Enterprise were cultural mainstays which we know to this day. If they really want to name it after a cult classic, it would have very limited appeal.

  68. Jo

    Looks like voting is closed on the NASA site — ‘Colbert’ gets a nod only as a suggestion. ‘Serenity’ it is!

  69. Gloria

    Serenity? Oh please. The only thing I can think of when I hear that are those commercials for those Serenity incontinence pads.

  70. Gloria

    Um, where exactly does it say that, Jo? On the voting page it says the winner will be announced in April.

  71. Eric

    Colbert won fair and square. If NASA doesn’t want to name it Colbert, then they should never have had a write in. Serenity? Like the cheesy sci-fi movie? Deal with it, he won fair and square. The NASA community had there chance and they failed to rally enough people to vote. I believe it would be a mistake in April to name it anything else. Are we still in the Bush era democracy?

  72. Doug

    For what it is worth, they had a similar contest to rename the Space InfraRed Telescope Facility. I actually had a list of the vote totals at one time. I think “Red Eye” was the winner, with Sagan up there somewhere. NASA chose instead to name it after Lyman Spitzer, thus the Spitzer Space Telescope today. He wasn’t in like the top 20, but given his work, highly deserved it. In fact, Hubble should have been named after Lyman, but he was still alive when it was commissioned. Anyway, there is ample precedent for NASA looking at the voting and saying, uh, sorry, no.

  73. art vanderleigh

    Maybe Colbert will be “flushed” away – NASA may name the toilet in Node 3 after him instead!

  74. Zach

    As a fan of both Colbert and Firefly, I’d rather see the node named after Colbert, and hold Serenity in reserve for one of the Altair LSAMs. Serenity deserves to go somewhere. She shouldn’t be tied down by being stuck in Earth orbit forever.

  75. Sierra

    Why do things that go into space have to be so epic and serious?
    Is it because of all of the futuristic books and movies we have viewed have been?

    Is that REALLY a good reason to stick all space names in a little category of how they have to be?

    If they do not go with Colbert, I will actually be a little pissed. It is not referencing something that is offensive, nor is it a blatant mockery of NASA. The clause being used to filter out winners OTHER than these is a misuse. Winning by that much, and a write in candidate at that, should illicit respect from the contest coordinators.

  76. tacitus

    It is not referencing something that is offensive, nor is it a blatant mockery of NASA. The clause being used to filter out winners OTHER than these is a misuse.

    No, Sierra, it’s not offensive or a mockery, but it is a joke. Sure, it’s been a very successful stunt by a comedy show, but from its conception through its execution, it was still nothing more than a joke conceived by someone on the paid Colbert Report writing staff. It would have been one thing for Colbert fans to spontaneously start voting for the name and garnering grass roots support through the Internet, but this was a coordinated effort from a commercial enterprise as a joke and a stunt (albeit a very funny one) aimed at one thing and one thing only — entertaining the viewers of the Colbert Report.

    So why should NASA respect something that’s nothing more than a joke and a stunt? What if Rush Limbaugh had decided to badger his listeners into voting for his name to be attached to the new ISS module? He would have easily garnered three or four times as many as Colbert, and pissed off a whole lot more people in the process if NASA had decided that the majority must be respected.

    The team at the Colbert Report deserve a lot of kudos for coming up with the idea of hijacking the vote, and it has and will continue to result in a lot of hilarity, but the idea that NASA has to abide by the results of a contest that was successfully gamed by a comedian is simply ridiculous. (And do you really believe that Colbert and his team thinks for one second that NASA owes them, or their viewers, the name of their module?)

    Just enjoy it for what it is. A cute joke, nothing more.

  77. Looks like a compromise may be in the offing…

    My favorite quote from the article: Agency spokesperson John Yembrick demurred on the subject but couldn’t resist cracking a joke himself. “As for the toilet rumor,” he told, “we don’t want to flush away any goodwill by announcing something before we are ready.”


  78. Nick

    I’d never seen the Stephen Colbert is on notice video before – Buzz Aldrin has a heck of a right hook. What a punch!

  79. tacitus

    Looks like a compromise may be in the offing…

    See, now this is the perfect response from NASA, and in exactly the right spirit. There is no reason why NASA can’t have as much fun with this as Colbert and not have to listen to any of this nonsense that they must abide by the result of the contest.

  80. Daniel J. Andrews

    Never saw the series Firefly. Did see the movie on DVD, and thought it could have been called Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Outer Space. Same camera angles too. After following Phil’s link and reading some of the quotes from the series though, I think I’ll have to rent some DVDs and see if it is as amusing as it sounds.

  81. Gary Ansorge

    As life is occasionally amusing, thus with art. Firefly dealt with social development in a reasonable manner(I especially liked the Chinese convergence as a great power) but as with other good stories, it has plenty of conflict.

    Summer Glau was/is an amazing young actor.

    GAry 7

  82. The Other David M.

    A joke, a stunt, done for publicity…

    Are we talking about the whole Colbert naming thing, or the views of many scientists of the ISS itself?

    Take the money spent on ISS, how many robot probes to the planets or orbital telescopes does that buy? Why invest it in the ISS? Because nobody throws ticker-tape parades for robots…

  83. Tim G

    I think that “Serenity” and “Serendipity” would be good names for sister modules.

  84. Trebuchet

    The new-reader on the car radio this morning on my way to work got the story completely mixed up. The lead-in was “Why you may need to go to the “Colbert” today” and the story was that NASA was running a contest to name the TOILET and Colbert had won! Hilarious! They probably got the story off the AP or some such so it may be widespread.

  85. I’m with some of the other posters — rename the toilet the “Colbert Rear Attachment Port”. After all, both the space toilet and Steven are quite good at dealing with people who are full of sh*t.

  86. NASA engr

    Rumor has it that we are going to name the toilet inside Node 3…the Colbert Toilet

  87. Ethan

    I personally think that Colbert would be the best name, besides 99% of people who voted for serenity did so because of fire fly (notice the two lower case fs), The Colbert nation beat the fire fly fan base fairly and thus to the victor go the spoils. Also it should be remembered that Stephen Colbert interviewed an asternaught, as well as having his DNA in the space station, so why not name part of it after him as well. Besides NASA may find some other way to appease the fire fly fans by creating a new helmet for the asternaughts and naming it serenity. This would symbollically represent the hard-headedness of the fire fly fans and appease them at the same time, a double win!

  88. Marrec

    As an unashamed Firefly fan, I’d much rather them reserve the name Serenity for something a bit more grand. Also, Colbert would bring more visibility to the ISS…

    which is only slightly less interesting than a baby Bald Eagle.

  89. Wendy

    Let’s just all thank our lucky stars that it probably won’t be named Xenu.

  90. Rea

    I love both Firefly and the Colbert Report. I think that Colbert did a great job inspiring publicity for the ISS. Far far fewer people would have been aware of this contest or even the new node were it not for him. For that reason I think he completely deserves a nod which will also keep the Colbert Nation’s gaze on the space program. I am definitely a huge fan of either the toilet idea or somehow having a wrist strong bracelet for the station’s robotic arm.

    I also think that Serenity is a more appropriate name for the new node. The site was very upfront about how the voting would be used as advice and stated clearly that, “The name should reflect the spirit of exploration and cooperation embodied by the space station, and follow in the tradition set by Node 1- Unity- and Node 2- Harmony.” They are not in the wrong for turning down a write in vote that doesn’t fit this scheme. Serenity fits beautifully with or without the fantastic show behind it. (By the way if you’ve only seen the movie don’t think you are informed enough to give an opinion on the whole show.) While I would rather see Serenity naming something more grand, in this instance it is definitely the better option.

  91. Rick

    As much as I love Colbert, this isn’t a joke. It’s a serious endeavor. Name it after something for a serious reason. Name the toilet handle or the seat after Colbert. That way, every time they sit down to relieve themselves, they can think of Colbert’s humor.

  92. mynamehere

    I love you guys oh serenity because of firefly. Here is a little fyi that is not the reason they used that name. It was used simply for the definition of the word it fits with the other two nodes. Jesus despite their lack of a social life and nerd stereotype scifi fans are generally pretty stupid. They will not name it Colbert they will go with their name it doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.


    You’re lame. Colbert does what he wants, when he wants to. For funny reasons. Get a better, more worthy arch nemesis, like Fred Phelps or John Cena.

  94. Andy

    I believe that the name “Colbert” does embody a spirit of exploration and cooperation. Humans are humans and we bring our humor and spontaneity, as well as our mass popular culture with us to the stars much as we do our seriousness and great “wisdom”.

    Colbert is about showing that humor, too, can not just be a thing of this Earth.

  95. Reminder to check The Colbert Report (check your local listings for Comedy Central for time) for the final disposition of the naming:


  96. drydriffice

    there really is no way to proclaim the actually


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