By Brian (Ruibo) Wu
According to CNET’s report, as the society tries to phase out discriminatory rhetoric, NASA is also considering to rename certain galaxies and nebulas since their unofficial names contain terms that are inherently exclusionary.
NASA’s spokesperson announced that as the academic society strives to identify and reduce systemic racism and inequality in general, it is clear that some cosmic nicknames are inappropriate discriminative. NASA is checking the unofficial terms used to name cosmic objects to ensure that the terms are not unintentionally offensive.
The spokesperson gave two examples during the news conference. For example, planetary nebula NGC 2392 used to be dubbed the Eskimo nebula. However, noting the history of colonization, Eskimo is widely considered a colonial term that was imposed on natives in the Arctic region. NASA has already published an image of NGC 2392 earlier in July and has explained the decision of eliminating this discriminatory term.
Moreover, for galaxies that strongly interact with one another, instead of using the term twin galaxies, NASA announced that only the official name, e.x. NGC 4567 AND NGC 4568, will be allowed in the future.
The inspection process is continuing. NASA’s deputy director Thomas Zurbochen points out that the goal is to make sure all that the names correspond with the values of modern society. Since science and technology serve all human beings, every aspect should reflect these basic morals.
NASA’s effort and its rigorous academic attitude are likely to additionally encourage academia in general to do the same in order to promote equality.