NASA has said the agency will stop using “insensitive” and “racist” terminology for planets and heavenly bodies as part of their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
In a press release on Wednesday, NASA said the space agency will drop the use of nicknames such as “Eskimo Nebula,” because the word “Eskimo” is “widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history, imposed on the indigenous people of Arctic regions.”
“Siamese Twins Galaxy” was also deemed “inappropriate” for use by NASA, who said the agency will now be using the scientific names NGC 4567 and NGC 4568 instead.
“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,” NASA said in the press release.
“NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
NASA’s Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Stephen T. Shih supported the move, saying “These nicknames and terms may have historical or cultural connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them.”