The Space Shuttle Atlantis crew members – Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus – appeared on ‘The Colbert Report’ back in August, 2011 to discuss their final mission and the future of American space travel. The crew also gifted Stephen with a launch pad nut from the shuttles final mission.
“Space Shuttle Atlantis,” which debuts on Saturday (June 29), showcases the retired winged spacecraft as part of a $100 million exhibit that has been more than a year in the making. It succeeds in bringing the public nose-to-nose — and nose-to-wing and nose-to-tail — with Atlantis in a way that is unique to every other museum display of a shuttle orbiter.
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.”
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 NASA.gov, 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.’ ”
Stephen Colbert, host of the nightly ‘The Colbert Report, ‘ said in a new NASA public service announcement released today that he’s always been a huge fan of space.
The talk show host tells his Colbert Nation — and the world — that he now likes space even more “because NASA is doing great things on the International Space Station (ISS).”
The completion of the ISS ushered in new era of research and discovery in a near gravity-free environment. Research on the orbital laboratory is focused on four areas: human health and exploration; basic life and physical sciences; earth and space science; and technology development to enable future exploration.
Colbert specifically mentions the agency’s work aboard the space station to develop new vaccines to fight infectious and deadly diseases, such as salmonella and pneumonia. As resistance toward current antibiotics becomes more common, there is an increasing need for alternative treatments.
Welcome to A Look Back, where we review and celebrate select clips from the overwhelmingly voluminous video catalog and the many splendid works of Stephen T. Colbert et. al. over the years.
With space shuttle Atlantis touching down for the last time on July 21, 2011, manned American space flight is clearly in a time of transition. Anyone who has watched the Report long enough surely realizes that Stephen is, and I say this with total affection, a space geek. The extensive NASA and space mentions on the Report have done a great deal to promote the cause for the space program, and NASA has been generous in returning the favor, even naming a space treadmill, the C.O.L.B.E.R.T., after Stephen. Let’s take a look back at some great moments in space.