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Pres. Obama chatting with astronauts on the ISS  (Source: Washington Post)
President Obama talks to astronauts in space; Colbert in space?; and NASA, Microsoft team up

President Barack Obama, along with several middle school students and several members of Congress, placed a call to astronauts working aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

"We've got a crew of wonderful school children here, who are all interested in space, and we've got some members of Congress, who are like big kids when it comes to talking to astronauts," President Obama said during the call.

Students had the opportunity to ask 10 astronauts -- three ISS temporary residents and the seven-member shuttle Discovery crew -- about what they eat, how they exercise, and other tidbits during the 28-minute phone call.  One astronaut said the food is "kind of like backpacking food," with another one stating it's mainly military-style ready-to-eat meals and dehydrated food.

After being quizzed about whether or not they can play video games, one astronaut mentioned that they can play video games while orbiting above Earth.

NASA recently launched a contest in which people could vote for the name of a new wing of the International Space Station (ISS), with four poll choices and the option of writing-in an additional name.  An Associated Press report indicates write-ins for Stephen Colbert's name had 230,539 votes to win, which is 40,000 votes higher than the runner-up of "Serenity," a NASA-suggested name.

"The Colbert Nation" helped propel Colbert's name to the top of the list once he requested viewers of The Colbert Report to write in his name.

NASA obviously has final say, and likely will not use Colbert's name as the official name of the ISS wing.

Google and its Google Mars 3D software will have competition from Microsoft, after it was announced NASA plans to turn over a large amount of high-resolution space images to the software giant.  The images of Mars and the moon will be used in Microsoft's "WorldWide Telescope" online telescope, and the information will be processed and hosted by NASA.

Images will be from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and future images will be captured by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

"This collaboration between Microsoft and NASA will enable people around the world to explore new images of the moon and Mars in a rich, interactive environment through the WorldWide Telescope," Microsoft V.P. of external research Tony Hey said in a statement.

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By niva on 3/25/2009 5:09:36 AM , Rating: 2
Which was also really stupid by calling Node 3 a "wing." It's not a wing, it's a module, almost identical to 2 of the other nodes of the station which serve as major hubs to which other modules can be attached.

Anyways, I hope NASA is smart enough to name it Colbert. That guy promotes all things NASA all the time on his show and has probably done much more for NASA publicity than any of the current NASA bosses.

My 2 cents, I voted for Colbert.

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