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NASA naming contest falls for Colbert prank

As expected, the comedian exhorted his fans to propel him to the top of a contest to name a new room in the International Space Station. What's not clear is whether NASA will take the bait.

Stephen Colbert really wants to be among the stars. Comedy Central

If the results of an online poll are any indication, NASA may soon be naming a new wing of the International Space Station, Node 3, after late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.

According to the Associated Press, write-ins for "Colbert" crushed all of NASA's four poll options, pulling in 230,539 votes; the second-place choice, NASA suggestion "Serenity" (a nod to sci-fi hero Joss Whedon) was more than 40,000 votes behind. Writer Dave Barry also threw his hat in the ring, suggesting "Buddy" as the perfect name for Node 3. But he didn't amass nearly enough support.

Colbert has made a habit of encouraging his loyal fans, whom he calls "The Colbert Nation," to game all kinds of online naming polls so that some incarnation of his name will emerge the winner. But he suffered an embarrassing defeat when the government of Hungary refused to name a new bridge after him, despite an extensive naming campaign on his Comedy Central pundit show, "The Colbert Report," to vote for him in the official online bridge-naming poll. (The government's excuse? The bridge could only be named after someone who speaks Hungarian.)

Colbert also couldn't get the right kind of support from either fans or state government authorities to put himself on the South Carolina presidential primary ballot in 2007. But with no poll involved, upstart airline Virgin American named one of its planes "Air Colbert."

As for the new "node" in the International Space Station, NASA spokesman John Yembrick told the AP that the government agency will make its final name choice next month. Don't give up hope, Nation!