National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) quite often uses unofficial nicknames to identify distant cosmic objects like planets, galaxies, and nebulae.
Recently, the space agency realised that some of the nicknames that they have been using are insensitive and can be actively harmful.
As a result, NASA is currently examining the usage of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters, Washington in a statement on the space agency’s official website said, "I support our ongoing reevaluation of the names by which we refer to astronomical objects.
Our goal is that all names are aligned with our values of diversity and inclusion, and we’ll proactively work with the scientific community to help ensure that. Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value."
The statement also clearly states that the agency will now be working with diversity, inclusion, and equity experts in the astronomical and physical sciences. This is being done so that they can get recommendations for better nicknames and terms for review.
Elaborating upon the issue, Stephen T. Shih, Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at NASA Headquarters, said:
"These nicknames and terms may have historical or cultural connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and NASA is strongly committed to addressing them. Science depends on diverse contributions, and benefits everyone, so this means we must make it inclusive."