Some day, in the hopefully not-too-distant future, NASA's next moon-bound astronauts will catch a ride to the launchpad to board their Orion spacecraft atop a massive SLS rocket. Oscar Mayer, the food company known for hot dogs, would like to offer a bold and dignified vehicle to take them there. A Wienermobile.
NASA actually is looking for some new astronaut ground transportation. It put out a call last week for commercial providers to chime in on possible replacements for the shiny Astrovan that once moved shuttle astronauts the nine miles from their crew quarters to the launchpad.
NASA is gearing up for its crewed Artemis missions, with the intention of returning humans to the moon. "The proposals should be unique, embrace new technology and visually embody Artemis to the public," NASA said.
I'm not sure a Wienermobile quite embodies the Artemis spirit of lunar exploration full of courage and space adventure. It embodies a hot dog, full of beef.
NASA's vehicle request came to the attention of Oscar Mayer, which tweeted "Hey, NASA, we got you" on Friday along with a photo of a Wienermobile.
The Wienermobile is likely to face some competition. In recent years, Airstream kitted out a touring coach for use with Boeing's delayed Starliner missions and SpaceX Dragon astronauts have had the chance to enjoy a lift in a Tesla Model X.
This isn't Oscar Mayer's first attempt at getting into the space game. It jumped on the Blue Origin "dong rocket" meme bandwagon when Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos flew to suborbital space in July by tweeting a photo of the Wienermobile rocketing off this rock.
Even though I know an astro-hot-dog-mobile would be so, so wrong, I still kind of want to see it happen. A Wienermobile, boldly rolling toward the launchpad, astronauts safely ensconced within its tubular shell, with nothing but space and the bright lantern of the moon ahead of them. Epic.