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    C.O.L.B.E.R.T. in Space!

    Stephen Colbert, Moon Walk Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

    Forget nation. It's a Colbert universe now, and we just live in it.

    After docking at the International Space Station Sunday night, astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery have unloaded that long-awaited treadmill NASA named after Stephen Colbert.

    Dubbed C.O.L.B.E.R.T., the exercise machine, in typical space agency parlance, stands for Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill. Its mission: to enable residents of the ISS to get a good workout as they go about their business of conducting science experiments in orbit.

    Finally, a payload as big as his ego!

    The space agency agreed to affix the funnyman's moniker to the equipment as a consolation prize after pulling the hypothetical rug out from under him.

    Last year, NASA held a contest to name the next section of the station—and made the mistake of allowing write-in votes.

    Colbert, never one to shy away from a prank in the service of self-promotion, encouraged fans to stuff the virtual ballot box. Of the 1.2 million votes cast, he led all comers with 230,000.

    Unfortunately for the comic, NASA reserved the right to make the final decision, choosing the much tamer "Tranquility." But given the great press his little crusade gave NASA, officials came up with the C.O.L.B.E.R.T.

    Before signing off for vacation, Colbert wished the Discovery's astronauts well.

    "I, of course, was the winner of your online node-naming competition," the Colbert Reporter said in an Aug. 21 message. "Despite my coming in first place in the popular vote, you named the node 'Tranquility.' Yeah, that'll scare the aliens.

    "I couldn't be prouder that my treadmill will soon be installed on the International Space Station to help finally slim down all those chubby astronauts," he continued.

    "Let's face it; being weightless is mostly just a desperate bid to get away from that scale every morning. But you guys and gals are ambassadors to the universe. Don't make us look bad. Put down the astronaut ice cream, Tubby!"

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