This season of "The Simpsons" has been particularly spacey.
In Sunday's (Jan. 25) episode of the long-running Fox cartoon TV show, SpaceX founder Elon Musk is "quietly" traveling the United States in his crewed Dragon spacecraft searching for something to inspire him. The billionaire inventor even shows off his "Springfield Hyperloop" featuring a small mouse that throws up after a ride on the machine designed to get people from point A to point B at high speeds on the ground.
Musk has been in the news a lot recently thanks to his new plans for his electric car company Tesla and SpaceX's contract to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017. And of course, at one point, Mr. Burns mistakes Musk for Henry Ford after being told that Musk "revolutionized the car industry."
Two weeks ago, the Simpsons family was captured by a group of aliens that transported them to a far off planet, presumably far away from the solar system.
The space travel plotline also gave the TV show's writers a chance to dust off one of the most fun Simpsons-in-space gags ever. In a season 5 episode of the show, Homer travels to space aboard a NASA space shuttle and eats floating chips in microgravity. The new alien abduction episode called "The Man Who Came to be Dinner" features Homer trying to recreate that magical snack moment, but Bart keeps ruining his floating chip fun.
Homer eats his chips in both episodes while the song "On the Beautiful Danube." The song itself is actually a call-back to the soundtrack of the science fiction space classic "2001: A Space Odyssey, " directed by Stanley Kubrick. You can watch a clip of Homer eating chips on the shuttle in the window below:
"The Simpsons" animators also re-imagined the cartoon cast of the show as characters from "Star Trek" for the end credits in "The Man Who Came to be Dinner." You can watch those credits in the window below via Hulu:
Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer. Follow us @Spacedotcom
Miriam KramerMiriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.
Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.
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