Four NASA astronauts from the final space shuttle mission tonight presented host Stephen Colbert with a pretty fucking cool artifact — a “frangible nut.” As Commander Chris Ferguson explained,
The space shuttle is actually held to the launch pad with eight very large nuts. …At the moment that the solid rocket boosters — the big white ones — fire, there’s charges in either side of that nut that will split that nut in half and actually release the space shuttle from the state of Florida (!!!) so that it may ascend in(to) orbit.
Stephen then snarked, “As if launching a rocket were not phallic enough, you literally bust a nut when you go into space.”
Learn something new every day! Also, may your nuts never be frangible.