NASA's name has been changed to the most remote object ever explored, the mysterious Ultima Thule, after controversy surfaced that its name was linked to the Nazi party.
Originally known as "2014 MU69," the celestial object was given the informal name of Ultima Thule by the New Horizons team, after a mythical northern land in classical and medieval literature in Europe, according to Science Alert. However, the Thule Society, established in 1918, was also the name of a German occultist group that eventually flourished in the Nazi party.
NASA has since renamed the object as Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning "sky" in The Powhatan / Algonquian language, after obtaining permission from adults in the Powhatan Army.
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"The name & # 39; Arrokoth & # 39; reflects the inspiration of looking at the heavens, and wondering about the stars and the world beyond ourselves," says by Alan Stern, chief investigator of New Horizons from the Southwest Research Institute, in a statement. "The desire to learn is at the heart of the New Horizons mission, and we are honored to join the Powhatan community and the people of Maryland in celebration of this discovery."
Stern did not refer to the link to the Thule Society as a factor for the new name, but did mention it during a press conference. "Just because some bad guys liked that term, we didn't let them hijack it," Stern said, according to The Independent. Ultima Thule is also the name of a rock band that is considered racist, a claim that the band has publicly stated on its website.
The new official name has been ratified by the International Astronomical Union and announced at a ceremony on Tuesday at NASA headquarters in Washington.
"The team for NASA's New Horizons mission intended for Ultima Thule – representing the concept, & # 39; beyond the borders of the known world & # 39;" – to become a temporary nickname, and planned suggest a permanent name after the flyby, "NASA spokesman Allard Beutel told Fox News via email. "The team chose the Algonquian / Powhatan word Arrokoth in honor of indigenous peoples of the region who are critical to discovering and exploring the farthest things spacecraft has ever experienced."
Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said. "they accept [ed]" the gift of Arrokoth's name from the people of Powhatan.
"The naming of Arrokoth indicates the strength and endurance of the native Algonquian people of the Chesapeake region," Glaze added in the statement. "Their heritage continues to be a guiding light for all who seek the meaning and understanding of the origins of the universe and the connection of humanity to humanity."
Southwest Research Institute's Marc Buie said Marc It was discovered that the discovery of Arrokoth, located on the Kuiper Belt, an area of annoying bodies that extends beyond Neptune and 4 billion miles from Earth, has helped astronomers in understanding the universe.
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"Data from the newly-named Arrokoth, has given us clues about the formation of planets and our cosmic origins, "Buie said in the statement." We believe that this ancient body, consisting of two different lobes merged into one being, may have answers that contribute to our understanding the origin of life on Earth. "formed after two lobes orbited into each other) were previously described by NASA as a" giant pancake "and" a dried walnut, "after the space agency originally thought to look like a reddish snowman.
In May, NASA revealed a shocking discovery that there was both water and "organic molecules" on it. It is considered the "reddest outer solar system object spacecraft visited," probably because of the organic molecules on the surface that contributed to its vibrant color.
Scientists have also discovered new features in Arrokoth, including many small areas, patches and craters, including a 5 mile wide depression likely to have formed from some kind of impact. Traveling nearly 33,000 miles per hour, the $ 720 million New Horizons spacecraft, launched in January 2006, will continue to transmit data transmission from its Arrokoth flyby to late summer 2020.
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