NASA renamed the farthest object ever explored "Ultima Thule" after controversy over its name being associated with the NSDAP.
Formerly known as "2014 MU69", the celestial object was given the informal name of Ultima Thule by the New Horizons team, after a mythical northern country in classical and medieval European literature, according to Science Alert. However, the Thule Society, founded in 1918, was also the name of a German occult group that later developed into a Nazi party.
NASA has since renamed the object Arrokoth, a Native American term meaning "heaven" means the Powhatan / Algonquian language after the elders of the Powhatan tribe gave their consent.
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"The name & # 39; arrokoth & # 39; reflects the inspiration to look up into the sky and wonder at the stars and worlds beyond ours own lie, "said Alan Stern, New Horizons chief researcher from the Southwest Research Institute, in a statement. "This desire to learn is at the heart of Mission New Horizons, and we are honored to be part of this celebration of discovery with the Powhatan community and the people of Maryland." as a reason for the new name, but mentioned him during a press conference. "Just because some villains once liked that term, we will not allow them to kidnap him," Stern said, according to The Independent. Ultima Thule is also the name of a Swedish rock group allegedly racist, a claim that the band has publicly denied on its website.
The new official name was ratified by the International Astronomical Union and announced at a ceremony on Tuesday at NASA headquarters in Washington.
"NASA's New Horizons mission team intended Ultima Thule – the concept, beyond the confines of the known world – to be a temporary nickname and a permanent name after the flyby," said NASA spokesman Allard Pouches to Fox News via email. "The team chose the Algonquian / Powhatan word Arrokoth as a tribute to the indigenous peoples of the region, who were instrumental in discovering and exploring the farthest object ever encountered by spacecraft."
Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division, said she "graciously accepts [ed] the gift of the Arrokoth name from the Powhatan people.
" The award of the name Arrokoth signifies the strength and endurance of the indigenous "In the Chesapeake region," Glaze added, "their heritage is still a guiding light for those seeking to understand and understand the origins of the universe and the heavenly union of humanity."
Marc Buie of the Southwest Research Institute reported on the discovery of Arrokoth in the Kuiper belt, an area of icy bodies far beyond Neptune and 4 billion miles from Earth, has helped astronomers understand the universe.
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" Data from the newly named Arrokoth have given us hints a In the explanation of the formation of planets and our cosmic origin, "said Buie. "We believe that this ancient body, consisting of two distinct lumps fused into a single entity, may contain answers that contribute to our understanding of the origin of life on Earth." formed after two lobes circled) was described by NASA as "giant pancakes" and "dented walnut" after the space agency initially thought it looked like a reddish snowman discovering that both water and "organic molecules" located on the surface. It is considered the "redest outer solar system object ever visited by spacecraft," probably due to organic molecules on the surface that contributed to its bright color.
Scientists have also discovered new features on Arrokoth, including several bright spots, patches, and craters, including an 8-km-wide pit that is likely to be formed by an impact. Launched in January 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft, at a speed of around 53,000 km / h, will continue to send data from its Arrokoth flyby by the end of summer 2020.
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