What may be the most expensive consolation prize in NASA history will soon be aboard the International Space Station. A $5 million treadmill named for political satirist and faux TV pundit Stephen Colbert will be one of the first items unloaded this afternoon from a cargo container docked at the station, according to the Associated Press.
The Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, now as elevated as its namesake’s ego, will soon be used by astronauts to stay healthy and strengthen their muscles in the zero-G environment.
Earlier this year, NASA started an online poll allowing Web site visitors to vote on a name for the space station’s latest module, Node 3. But NASA also allowed visitors to write in their own suggestion. That’s when Colbert implored the viewers of his Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report” to write his name in. And boy, did they — members of the Colbert Nation cast more than 230,000 votes for their hero, far more than the second-place choice, “Serenity.” *
Though Colbert won the vote fair and square, NASA instead chose to name Node 3 “Tranquility,” in honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Colbert was, of course, outraged at the subversion of democracy. But when astronaut Sunita Williams told him that a treadmill would instead bear his name, he quickly changed his tune. Video of the announcement after the jump:
* One other popular suggestion was to name Node 3 after Scientology diety and intergalactic alien overlord Xenu. NASA has apparently never commented on Xenu’s popularity, but Colbert sure did: