Fans of "The Big Bang Theory" were thrilled to see the cast and crew of CBS's hit nerd-com during the show's Comic-Con panel today, but one lucky fan got an unexpected bonus: a trip to outer space.
Fans of "BBT" will remember that belt-buckle-loving geek Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) blasted into space on the Season 5 finale, and today's panel featured astronaut Richard Searfoss offering Helberg a real-life trip to space. Helberg declined ("Altitude gives me a lot of gas"), so Searfoss offered the trip to the Comic-Con fans who asked a question during the panel, with each receiving a silver envelope.
The envelope belonging to female fan Mercedes Sara held a golden ticket, earning her a spot on a XCOR Aerospace flight into the atmosphere -- high enough to experience zero gravity. Who says watching TV doesn't pay off?
Watch Howard launch into space in this "Big Bang Theory" clip:
Here are some other great "Big Bang" tidbits we picked up at today's panel, moderated by "MythBusters" host Adam Savage:
- "Big Bang" will be paired with "Two and a Half Men" on Thursday nights this fall, and Chuck Lorre (creator of both shows) doesn't completely rule out the idea of a crossover episode: "Maybe one of the ['Big Bang Theory'] guys can tutor ['Men' character] Jake." Yeah, based on the brains (or lack thereof) we've seen from Jake so far, that could be one long tutoring session.
- Star Jim Parsons (Sheldon) couldn't make it to Comic-Con this year, appearing via satellite, but that didn't stop him from sharing some serious chemistry with on-screen love interest Mayim Bialik (Amy). After Parsons said his favorite part of last season was "the evolution of Amy and Sheldon's relationship," Bialik walked up to the big screen projecting Parsons' face and laid a big kiss on it. All together now: Awwww...
- "Big Bang" welcomed a host of geeky guest stars last season, including "Star Trek's" Leonard Nimoy and renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking -- and the characters weren't the only ones who were star-struck. Executive producer Bill Prady says of Nimoy: "I lost my mind... I hurt my back jumping over a rail to see him." And Helberg says a Season 5 highlight was "doing an impression of Stephen Hawking while Stephen Hawking watched me... I was surprised I wasn't run over."
- When a fan asked about the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, Parsons shared his joy over reading about the scientific breakthrough: "I found it remarkable that I knew what the title of the article meant." But Parsons isn't quite the science whiz that he plays on TV; when asked if he was good at science in school, Parsons replied, "No. I did have an interest in meteorology... but I failed meteorology."
- Kaley Cuoco plays Cheesecake Factory waitress Penny... so does she ever venture into the Cheesecake Factory in real life? "I haven't been in a long time," she says. "Last time I went, I got lots of looks and I thought something was on my face. I didn't figure it out for a while."
- One of the most time-consuming aspects of shooting Season 5? Building Sheldon's Lego Death Star. "A lot of young assistants spent days... weeks," says Lorre. "We bought it on eBay and it said 'Assembled," adds Prady. "What it didn't say was 'Assembled, and then taken apart'... It was actually cut from the original episode, and the assistant in charge nearly killed herself, so they put it in another episode." On behalf of "Star Wars" geeks everywhere, we thank you for reconsidering.
(Reporting by Adam Pockross)