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NASA removes racial nicknames of celestial bodies

NASA announced it is removing racially insensitive names of its celestial bodies.
Seen in this NASA photo, nebula NGC 2392 is no longer called the "Eskimo Nebula," an offensive term. It is about 5,000 light years away.
Seen in this NASA photo, nebula NGC 2392 is no longer called the "Eskimo Nebula," an offensive term. It is about 5,000 light years away.(NASA)
Published: Aug. 8, 2020 at 3:25 PM EDT
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(CNN) -NASA announced it is removing racially insensitive names of its celestial bodies.

“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 release this week. “Often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.”

The space agency said celestial bodies ‘Eskimo Nebula’ and ‘Siamese Twins Galaxy’ will be removed.

NASA is examining its use of phrases for planets, galaxies and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The space agency says it “will use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.”

“Science is for everyone and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington D.C.

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