NASA Is Changing Racist Nicknames Of Celestial Bodies
NASA has announced that it will change the ‘racist’ nicknames of some heavenly bodies that have racist backgrounds. It is joining many brands and companies in dropping terms that groups of people find insensitive.
About a month ago in July, Twitter had announced that it is dropping programming terms such as Slave and Master. While the terms mean specific things in its software buildup, the company said it understood how they may be offensive to others and will change them.
In a CNN article, the space authorities mentioned ‘Eskimo Nebula’ and ‘Siamese Twins Galaxy’ as some of the nicknames it was dropping.
The Eskimo Nebula got its nickname from its resemblance to a person’s head within a hood; in reality, it is just a nebula, an enormous cloud of dust in space between stars. In the same fashion, the Siamese Twins Galaxy got its name because it is a pair of spiral galaxies that appear as conjoined.
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In a statement addressing the issue, NASA said; “Nicknames are often more approachable and public-friendly than official names for cosmic objects, such as Barnard 33, whose nickname ‘the Horsehead Nebula’ invokes its appearance.
“But often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.”
NASA further says that its decision is tied to its commitment to ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’. For now, it will use the official names of the celestial bodies if their nicknames are not appropriate.
Thus, the Siamese Twins Galaxy will be called NGC 4567 and NGC 4568 or by its other nickname; the Butterfly Galaxies. Meanwhile, the Eskimo Nebula would be called NGC 2392 or by its other nickname; the Clownface Nebula.
NASA’s decision to drop the names drew mixed reactions. Some people commended it while others think people who ‘feel offended’ are being ‘overly sensitive’.
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