The National Aeronautics and Space Administration will refer to cosmic objects by their scientific name as opposed to nicknames that could be deemed offensive.
“Nicknames are often more approachable and public-friendly than official names for cosmic objects, such as Barnard 33, whose nickname ‘the Horsehead Nebula’ invokes its appearance,” NASA said in a press release, according to CNN. “But often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.”
NASA says the move to reexamine the names of certain celestial bodies was done “as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
The agency added that it “will use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.”
Controversial names that are on the chopping block include the “Eskimo Nebula” and the “Siamese Twins Galaxy,” which will be referred to instead as NGC 2392 and NGC 4567, respectively.
“Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., said about the decision.
Corporations across the country have been making similar calls in hopes of appearing more politically correct, and household brands such as Aunt Jemima, Land O’Lakes, Uncle Ben’s, and many others have changed their messaging and imagery in response to accusations of racism.
Some companies have rejected the idea, including grocery chain Trader Joe’s, which recently announced that it will not change labels on popular store brands despite a petition circling around the internet calling the labels racist.
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