Congress, NASA, Other, White House

Briefly noted

While the White House hasn’t announced a pick for NASA administrator, space enthusiasts can look on the bright side: President Obama did spend about a half-hour talking about space with ISS and shuttle astronauts, peppering them with questions ranging from their work installing solar panels on the station to how they check email. The issue of who might—someday—be running NASA did not come up, but one wonders whether people like Senators Bill Nelson and Kay Bailey Hutchison or Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, who were all present at the White House for the call, brought up the issue with the president at some point before or after the call.

Meanwhile, as NASA make more effort to engage the public, you had to wonder when something like go wrong. And it appeared to do just that when Stephen Colbert beat out a pre-selected choice of names for Node 3 of the ISS in an online poll, thanks to a write-in effort by fans of “The Colbert Report”. NASA says the poll is not binding, but that hasn’t stopped Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), who sits on the appropriations subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes NASA, from issuing a press release calling for NASA to honor the results of the poll even if Colbert’s campaign “was a bit over the top”. One assumes that Rep. Fattah’s tongue is at least partially wedged in his cheek—he appeared on “The Colbert Report” in 2006—but it does lead one to wonder if other members of Congress will pay closer attention to NASA’s participatory efforts.

5 comments to Briefly noted

  • Chance

    What’s wrong with naming a station part after a comic? They named the first shuttle “Enterprise”. (Yes, I know it was supposedly NOT named after the Star Trek starship, but we all know the truth.)

  • I do worry about the implications of it as this is supposed to be a neutral spacecraft and introducing the name of a comic whose act is essentially to mock conservative tv hosts may taint that atmosphere. I’m not a conservative myself, but I can see how this can be a show of favoritism. I think the option I saw yesterday of naming the new toilet after him was a good one. It maintains the comic spirit while offering an answer to demands. And I doubt that it will be taken as anything other than feigned insult by Colbert or his fans who, as a general rule for those who watch comedy central, would probably get the joke.

    Terence

  • Vladislaw

    if ANYTHING on the ISS gets named after Colbert you know he will run with it, from the node to the commode he will make hay. Publicity for NASA is the bottom line and he does deliver that.

  • Norm Hartnett

    I strongly favor naming the ECLSS (the full unit not just the commode) a Colbert.

    1) Honors the will of the people.
    2) Shows NASA with a more human (and humorous) side.
    3) Retains the option of some dignity for the node name.

    Frankly it would be a massive PR coup and therefore I doubt that NASA and PAO will to it.

  • [...] Node 3 of the ISS after comedian Stephen Colbert won an online poll run by the space agency—attracted the attention of Rep. Chaka Fattah, who argued that NASA should bend to the will of the people (or, at least, the voters) and name the [...]

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