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Nasa defies comic to name module 'Tranquility'

world Updated: Apr 15, 2009 12:43 IST

NASA risked the wrath of millions of comedy fans across cosmos on Tuesday, announcing it had named the International Space Station's next module "Tranquility."

After trawling through thousands of suggestions posted on the agency's website, NASA said it had decided on Tranquility after the eponymous lunar sea.

Astronaut Sunita Williams appeared on the Comedy Central channel on Tuesday to announce the results of the contest dubbed the "Help Name Node 3" poll.

But the 43-year-old's announcement on the Colbert Report -- a satirical news program -- was greeted with a frosty reception by the audience.

Fans of the cult show had called for the module to be named after the Colbert Report host, Stephen Colbert.

In a statement NASA's Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, said "we don't typically name U.S. space station hardware after living people and this is no exception.

"Apollo 11 landed on the moon at the Sea of Tranquility 40 years ago this July. We selected 'Tranquility' because it ties it to exploration and the Moon, and symbolizes the spirit of international cooperation embodied by the space station," Gerstenmaier said in a statement.

But Williams, who has served on the International Space Station, offered some consolation for the booing crowd.

"Your name will be in space" she told Colbert, "we have come up with something that will be in Node 3, the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.

"Every day somebody will have to jump on the COLBERT to work out. So that will be the words that will be passed down from space to ground 'It's time for me to jump on Colbert'."

The treadmill is expected to be safely stowed inside the Tranquility, when the node arrives at the ISS next year.

Colbert, apparently pleased with his imminent foray into space travel, joked that "however far the Space Station goes, my treadmill will always have gone a few miles more."