Claiming he is standing up for democracy in orbit, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah is backing comedian Stephen Colbert's successful write-in campaign to have NASA name a new room on the International Space Station after him.
NASA offered four possibilities in its online contest to name the ISS Node 3, but also allowed write-in votes. Colbert generated 230,539 write-ins after nightly appeals on his TV show, "The Colbert Report," for his viewers to jam the NASA mailbox. Colbert walked away with the win, beating NASA's suggestion of "Serenity" by more than 40,000 votes.
"NASA decided to hold an election to name its new room at the International Space Station and the clear winner is Stephen Colbert," Fattah said in a statement March 25. "The people have spoken, and Stephen Colbert won it fair and square-even if his campaign was a bit over the top."
NASA has had no comment since Colbert won, but the space agency has said it reserves the right to choose an appropriate name and disregard the final vote count.
"When Americans look to the sky, they may see 'Serenity' but there will be no serenity here on earth," Fattah said, if NASA refuses to name the chamber after Colbert.
A member of the House Appropriations Committee that oversees NASA, Fattah may have the influence to force NASA into Colbert's corner, but he insists, "This is not about dollars, but it's got to make sense to the American people. We insist on democracy in orbit."