NASA – Getting Colbert.

Part of NASA FIRST’s year-long program involves putting together a project, and the two and their advisor, David LeDoux, met with Cindy Lee, NASA Langley’s associate director, to determine needs.

“She said ‘outreach, outreach, outreach,’ ” said Lou. “It turns out that is an issue with every single research center.

“We’re here, we do cool things. But, while general public has good will toward the agency, it doesn’t have a full grasp of the things we do. For a lot of people, NASA was the shuttle and when the shuttle went away … And for a research center, it’s even tougher getting the message out.”


Stephen Colbert NASA

Credit: NASA / Jason Lou

They targeted Colbert, who has incorporated NASA in some of his daily shows, and who carried on a gag campaign to have a node on the International Space Station named for him, only to end up with an eponymous treadmill on the ISS. Scott Carnell sent Colbert’s publicist an email with a letter attached to outline the project. The reply came within 24 hours.

Back-and-forth correspondence solidified what Lou and Scott Carnell were seeking, and they went to New York on December 15 for a taping of the Colbert’s show, “The Colbert Report.” In a room in the studio before the taping began, they occasionally glanced at a television when “we saw a NASA ‘meatball’ across the screen,” said Scott Carnell. “We ran over and watched.”

Colbert taped two versions of the video, using scripts from Colbert Report writer and co-producer Richard Dahm, adapted from ideas offered by Lou and Scott Carnell.

They then were ushered into the studio to watch a taping of “The Colbert Report.”

The issue now is getting the word out on the Colbert video. It’s on, and, said Lou, “I’m going to do my part by linking it to my Facebook page. ‘Hey, check this video out. Encourage people to like it.’ ”

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(Thanks to lockhart43 for the Tip!)

  • Gail

    Stephen is truly a modern day