NASA says it reserves the right to choose the name for a new international space station name, even though Stephen Colbert won an online contest fair and square.
Houston, we have a very hilarious problem.
The name "Colbert" beat out NASA's four suggested options in the space agency's effort to have the public help name the addition. The module, Node 3, will be launched later this year.
NASA's mistake was allowing write-ins, allowing Colbert to mobilize viewers of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report" to submit his name. With 230,539 votes the tongue-in-cheek host clobbered Serenity, one of the NASA choices, by more than 40,000 votes. Nearly 1.2 million votes were cast by the time the contest ended Friday.
NASA still reserves the right to choose an appropriate name and they may have the last laugh.
Agency "insiders" told Space.com Tuesday that the agency is considering slapping the comedian's name on a new space toilet instead of Node 3.
In response, NASA spokesman John Yembrick reaffirmed that the agency will decide in April, and will give top vote-getters "the most consideration."
"As for the toilet rumor, we don't want to flush away any goodwill by announcing something before we are ready," he said.
Here is Colbert grilling NASA last week: