Friday, November 25, 2011

Astro Entertainers


Heaping capsule-fulls of astronauts have been featured in or interviewed for space program documentaries and science shows. Still others have consulted on feature films about historical events.

Many many many astronauts have appeared on talk and variety shows, alongside Ed Sullivan, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Johnny Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Craig Ferguson, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.

Almost an entire Shuttle Endeavour crew appeared on "Home Improvement". Commander Dick Covey and his team from STS-61 discussed repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. Story Musgrave and Claude Nicollier got in some good zinger jokes alongside the laugh track, Jeff Hoffman played a video of himself on EVA, imitating Tim Allen's famous manly grunt… and Tom Akers displayed some of the tools used in space... one of which Tim Taylor tried to "shoplift"! Mission Pilot Ken Bowersox went on to feature in two more episodes as the series progressed.

In their first attempt at comedy acting… turns out they were pretty good space travelers! Dudes, don't quit your weightless jobs.

In perhaps the most famous astronaut movie of all time, actor Tom Hanks portrayed Astronaut James Lovell in Apollo 13 (1995), based on Lovell's book Lost Moon. Lovell himself makes a cameo in this movie, playing the captain of the USS Iwo Jima at the end of the film.

Buzz Aldrin Dancing With The Stars
In the children's genre, Buzz Aldrin appeared on "Sesame Street"! Kenneth Stanley Reightler, Jr. also appeared on the Barney and Friends home video "Barney in Outer Space".

Buzz Aldrin also performed with partner Ashley Costa on season 10 of "Dancing With The Stars". At 80, he was the oldest dancer to ever appear on the show, though after Waltz, Foxtrot and Cha-Cha numbers, he was eliminated by audience vote in round 3.

Season 7, Episode 12 saw NASA Goddard hosting Top Chef: Gastro-Nauts, which featured TJ Creamer and Tracy Caldwell Dyson on the ISS, displaying some onboard nutritional choices. Later in the food judging panel of the same airing, Buzz Aldrin, Sandra Magnus and Leland Melvin tasted some of the cheftestants' attempts at making palatable dishes for use in microgravity.

Leland Melvin and fellow astronaut Sunita Williams also appeared with their dogs in the 7th season of NatGeo's "The Dog Whisperer".

Survivor Panama
Daniel T. Barry was one of 16 contestants on the CBS program "Survivor: Panama-Exile Island", operating within the La Mina tribe. He came in 11th place, being the 6th person voted off the island on Day 15 of the reality competition trials.

Astronaut Thomas David Jones is a science/space contributor for the Fox News channel.

Astonishingly, no astronaut has ever hosted Saturday Night Live.