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NASA drops ‘insensitive’ celestial nicknames as they address systematic discrimination

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that they will stop using the nicknames of culturally meaningless skies.

In a statement released on Wednesday, August 5, NASA said it became clear that some cosmetic nicknames were not only insensitive but actively harmful and were taking the first steps to address systematic discrimination and inequality in all aspect of the field.

“As a preliminary step, NASA no longer refers to the planetary nebula NGC 2392, the glowing remnant of a Sun-like star that explodes in its outer layers at the end of its life, as the” Eskimo Nebula, “it said. of NASA in the statement. “Eskimo” is widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions. Most official documents have avoided its use. “

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


“NASA will no longer use the term ‘Siamese Twins Galaxy’ to refer to NGC 4567 and NGC 4568, a pair of galaxies found in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster,” NASA said in a statement. “Moving forward, NASA will only use the official, designating the International Astronomical Union in cases where the nicknames are inappropriate.”

“Siinsese twins” is a term used to refer to a pair of Siamese-American conjoined twins in the 1800s who regularly appeared in what was known as the “freak show” at the time.

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

But NASA says “seemingly innocent” nicknames can be dangerous and ultimately alienate science.

“I support our ongoing review of names in which we refer to astronomical objects,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington. “Our goal is for all names to be aligned with our values ​​of diversity and inclusion, and we will actively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every aspects of our work need to show that value. “

Continuing, NASA said they will work with diversity, integration and equity experts to provide advice and guidance for designated nicknames.

“These nicknames and terms can have historical or cultural connotations that are unpleasant or unpleasant, and NASA has strongly promised to address them,” said Stephen T. Shih, Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters. “Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so it means we must incorporate it.”

There was a cultural countdown in the months following the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers and NASA’s latest organization to join the likes of an ever-growing list – including the likes of Washington Football Team, musical groups “The Chicks“at”Lady A, “and food products such as Tiya Jemima, Mrs Butterworth’s and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream announced that it is lowering the brand “Eskimo Pie“a century later – in examining the power of names.

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