NASA has officially renamed the farthest cosmic body a spacecraft ever visited as Arrokoth, or “sky” in Native American languages.
It made the decision following a significant backlash over the old name’s Nazi connotation.
In January, this year, NASA spaceship visited the icy rock which orbits in the dark Kuiper belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto.
However, the first detailed image of it shows that it consists of two spheres struck together in the shape of a snowman.
Its technical designation is 2014 MU69 but the new horizon team nicknamed it Ultima Thule. They pronounce it as Tool-ey.
NASA named it after a mythical northern land in classical and medieval European literature.
It is described as beyond the borders of the known world.
Reason for changing the name
The old name, however, sparked a backlash due to its Nazi connotation which reminds us of German fascism.
The new horizon team chose the new name and the International Astronomical Union ratified it.
NASA announced the new name in a ceremony at NASA headquarters on Tuesday. However, the subsequent NASA statement did no mention about the controversy.
The New Horizon’s principal investigator said that the name Arrokoth reflects the inspiration of looking to the skies and wondering about the stars and the worlds beyond our own.
Additionally, he said that to learn was at the heart of New Horizons’ mission. He added that he felt honored to join with the people of Maryland in this celebration of the discovery.
Meanwhile, NASA said that they had received consent from Powhatan tribal elders in choosing the name.
It added that it chose the name to associate the culture of the native people who lived in the region where the object was discovered.
NASA is operating the New Horizon mission out of Maryland whose bay region is home to the Powhatan people.