Cancel Culture Goes to Space: NASA to Remove Offensive Names of Cosmic Objects

Posted: Aug 08, 2020 2:10 PM
Cancel Culture Goes to Space: NASA to Remove Offensive Names of Cosmic Objects

Source: Dan Durda via AP

Now that SpaceX is doing all the heavy lifting these days when it comes to actual space exploration, the folks at NASA are busying themselves with renaming celestial objects that social justice warriors may find offensive. 

"NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion," the agency said in a news release this past week. 

Under the new rules, the agency says it will cease the use of nicknames when it comes to cosmic objects and instead refer to such objects exclusively by their scientific designations, such as "NGC 2392" in reference to the Eskimo Nebula, and NGC 4567 and 4568 in reference to the Siamese Twins Galaxy. The agency will work with so-called diversity, inclusion, and equity experts to provide guidance and make recommendations for other nicknames subject to review.

"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," said NASA. 

"These nicknames and terms may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them," said Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters Stephen T. Shih. 

There was no mention in the news release of renaming the planet Uranus. 

As mentioned, Elon Musk's SpaceX is taking over where NASA left off, which is when President Obama cut funding to the agency and scrapped the Space Shuttle and Constellation programs. The latter program was aimed at sending Americans to the moon by 2020. 

Last Sunday, Elon Musk welcomed the SpaceX Crew Dragon back to Earth as the astronauts splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the first splashdown of an American crew spacecraft in 45 years. 

Restoring America's presence in space is a key goal of the Trump administration. Under Trump, the National Space Council has been reestablished, NASA received its largest budget in decades, and the newly minted Space Force is now the sixth branch of the United States military.