(EXPRESS UK) – NASA will reexamine the potentially harmful nicknames given to celestial bodies to make the field of astronomy more diverse and inclusive.
Cosmic names can be drab, with astronomers naming nebulas and stars with strings of numbers and letters. Names like NGC 6302 fail to inspire the imagination and belie the beauty hidden in the depths of space. A simple nickname used by NASA, such as the Butterfly Nebula, can go a long way to give an object like NGC 6302 more character.
But there are some cosmic nicknames NASA fears can be insensitive or hurtful towards people who have been historically excluded from the scientific fields.
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In a bid to address concerns of systemic discrimination and inequality, the US space agency will reexamine its use of unofficial terminology.
For starters, NASA has vowed to no longer refer to the planetary nebula NGC 2392 as the Eskimo Nebula.