Here's why NASA may change 'insensitive', 'unofficial' nicknames given to cosmic objects
Washington (USA) | Jagran Trending Desk: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States is examining the unusual names of various cosmic objects that may be held insensitive or controversial. The premier space agency often puts in use unofficial nicknames to determine the identification of distant cosmic objects – galaxies, asteroids, and planets among others.
“As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful. NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion,” NASA wrote on its official website.
As part of the first leg of the process, the terminology used to identify the remains of a Sun-like star that it at the end of its overall cycle – unofficially called “Eskimo Nebula” – will be officially called as NGC 239, the nomenclature assigned by International Astronomical Union. Since in this case, Eskimo is seen as a colonial term with racist history. Similarly, the unofficial usage of “Siamese Twins Galaxy” too will be discontinued.
“These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them,” said Stephen T Shih, Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters. “Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive,” he added.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington, while expressing his support for the ongoing reevaluation of the astronomical objects also detailed the eventual aim of the exercise.
“Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion, and we’ll proactively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value,” said Zurbuchen.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma