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Home / Science / NASA dropped the moniker of the ’emotionless’ celestial bodies when they systematically dealt with discrimination

NASA dropped the moniker of the ’emotionless’ celestial bodies when they systematically dealt with discrimination



The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that it will stop using the nicknames of culturally insensitive objects.

In a statement released Wednesday, August 5, NASA said it had become clear that some cosmic nicknames were not only emotionless, but harmful, and that they were taking these first steps to systematically address discrimination and inequality in all aspects of this sector.

“As a first step, NASA will no longer mention the planetary nebula NGC 2392, the glowing remnant of a Sun-like star blowing away its outer layers at the end of its life, as “The Eskimo Nebula,” NASA said in “Eskimo” is seen by many as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the natives of the Arctic regions. have no longer used it. “

NASA also said it would stop referring to a distant galaxy as the “Siamese Twins Galaxy.”

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“NASA will also no longer use the term ‘Siamese Twins’ to refer to NGC 4567 and NGC 4568, a pair of spiral galaxies found in the Virgo Cluster,” a statement from NASA said. “In the future, NASA will only use official designations of the International Astronomical Union in cases where the nickname doesn’t match.”

“Siamese twins” is an ancient term for a Siamese-American conjoined twins of the 1800s that frequently appeared in what was known as the “singularity” of the time.

Nicknames are often given to celestial bodies and are often referred to by their names rather than their official names, such as Barnard 33, also known as “the Horsehead Nebula” because of its shape.

But NASA says these “seemingly innocuous” nicknames can be harmful and ultimately take away science.

“I support the reassessment of our ongoing names we refer to astronomical objects,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, deputy administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters. , Washington said. “Our goal is that all names are in line with our diverse and inclusive values ​​and we will actively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Everyone and every aspect of our work needs to reflect that value. “

In the future, NASA said it will work with diverse, inclusive, and impartial experts to provide advice and guidance for designated aliases.

“These nicknames and terms may have historical or cultural significance that are either objectionable or undesirable, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them,” said Stephen T. Shih, Co-administrator for Mechanical Engineering. diversity and equality at NASA Headquarters said. “Science depends on diverse contributions and benefits everyone, so this means we have to make it inclusive.”

There has been a cultural calculation in the months following George Floyd’s death at the hands of four police officers in Minneapolis and NASA is the latest to join in on a similar growing list – along with those people like that Washington football team, band “The chicks“and”Lady A“and food products like Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, who announced the rebranding “Eskimo Pie“after a century – when considering the power of names.

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