NASA Goes Boldly Where Many Have Gone Before: into Political Correctness

Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 2392, also known as the Eskimo Nebula, released in 2000. (via Reuters)
NASA considers names such as the Eskimo Nebula colonialist and discriminatory.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he latest paradox of progressive stupidity: NASA, an organization created to colonize the whole damn universe, wants to erase all traces of the names of possible colonizers in its archives of cosmic objects, as part of its diversity policies. But that’s the secondary news. For most of us, the primary news is that NASA has an Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, which “leads diversity and civil rights policies, programs, and services — enabling the universe of available talent to contribute inclusively and equitably to NASA.” According to the agency, the first name to be deleted is that of the Eskimo Nebula, which in the opinion of these scientists is “racist” and “colonial.” And the second is the Siamese Twins Galaxy, which they consider clearly “inappropriate,” although they do not clarify whether it is offensive for galaxies, Siamese, or twins.

In the past, when one was suffocating under the ideological pressure of the apostles of cultural Marxism, one could dream of going to the moon and living outside the modern world. But now the dream is over. NASA wants the moon and all of space to be politically correct places. Yet even if we take their side in this struggle, we have to recognize that, as progressives like to say, “there is still much to do.”

Although the Eskimo Nebula is a terribly perverse nomenclature, the same galaxy NGC 2392 is also known as the Clownface Nebula. That does not seem to worry NASA. But it is certainly an outrage to clowns, to people who tell jokes, to those who like to wear colored wigs, to those with red noses, and to anyone who likes to wear oversized shoes.

The universe is full of horrible and clearly discriminatory places. The name Skull Nebula, in the Cetus constellation, clearly encourages murder and insults anyone with a skull. The Horsehead Nebula harasses people who have long necks. The Spirograph Nebula makes a mockery of all those people who have no idea what a Spirograph is. But there is more.

A few days ago, a NASA news bulletin celebrated the arrival of the Sturgeon Moon, so called because in the old days, fishermen managed to catch more sturgeon in August, when this lunar phenomenon is visible. According to my own research, this spectacle, which makes the space agency very happy, deeply saddens the sturgeons, who for years have lost their sons, mothers, and brothers in this wild month of marine massacres. NASA’s website also announces recent advances in research into black holes. It is indeed difficult to concentrate more racism in a single term than in this one. A black hole is something that captures and retains anything that comes close, a description that can only be interpreted in derogatory and clearly racial terms.

The agency recently announced that the Webb telescope is beginning a detailed study of Jupiter. This planet’s name should be extinguished as soon as possible. It pays homage to a god who, to ascend to the throne, allied with his brothers in a painful war against his father that lasted ten years. What greater depravity could there be than to declare war on Dad just for the throne?

As NASA scientists know, Saturn owes its name to the god of agriculture and harvest in Roman mythology. Saturn did not want to have children so as not to lose the throne . . . but he married Ops, the goddess of fertility, which does not seem like a bright idea if you do not want offspring. Of course, they had children, and Saturn solved the problem by eating them. I think that, out of respect for all the children that are devoured by their own parents every day all over the world, NASA should immediately eliminate the name “Saturn” from all its catalogues and change it to some alternative and innocuous one, like “The one with the rings,” “The one that shines sometimes,” or “That one there.”

But NASA’s relationship with mythology is very strange. Until recently, the names of the missions were almost random; priority was given to the scientific aspect. Today it’s the other way around. Since 2017, NASA has been developing the Artemis Program, heralded as the mission that will carry “the first woman and next man” on the moon in the year 2024. Aside from the question of whether there is really any scientific difference between sending a man or a woman to the moon, what is really disturbing is the name chosen: that of the goddess Artemis.

Supposedly she is a very feminist deity because she is a woman, a virgin, and has the same attributes as her brother, Apollo, often portrayed in mythology as effeminate.  However, if you go a little beyond the cliché, you discover Artemis’s true personality: beautiful, cruel, unstable, vain, violent, vengeful, and capricious. Artemis, for example, liked to bathe in the nude with her nymphs. On one occasion, Actaeon came across them skinny dipping while he was out hunting with his dogs. Artemis punished him for having seen them naked by turning him into a deer and watching amused as his own dogs devoured him. She is not the kind of woman I would recommend cooping up in a tiny capsule with a man for a 26-day space trip. But NASA likes Artemis. I don’t know how the scientific preparations for the trip are going, but I do know that the diversity department is working hard: For this mission, they have designed a logo that shows a woman with no features, so that any girl can identify with it.

Even if you think that Artemis is a good choice because, at the end of the day, Actaeon paid for the sins of a patriarchal and abusive society, it is worth remembering that this goddess was particularly cruel to women. Aura, the goddess of cold days, once suggested that her beauty and virginity on a par with those of Artemis. Aura also said that Artemis was too feminine to be a real virgin. Artemis’s response was furious.  Artemis punished the goddess Aura to be raped savagely by Dionysus, up to the point that she went mad and became a dangerous man-killer, starting with her own twin sons whom she swallowed whole as soon as they were born. Maybe somebody should tell NASA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. But they’d probably say the real problem with Greek and Roman mythology is its failure to deal with climate change, Black Lives Matter, and the Geneva Convention.

Perhaps NASA’s program to rename celestial objects is merely an effort to justify the existence of an absurd Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity in the first place. Imagine if the laboratories looking for a coronavirus vaccine, instead of advancing its development, held long debates to decide whether the vaccine should carry a male or a female name. (I sincerely hope that I am not giving ideas to those of the new Left in power. . . oh, wait!)

The only thing NASA demonstrates by trying to change the name of objects such as Eskimo Nebula is that extreme seriousness is a non-negotiable rule among the apostles of diversity, equality, plurality, and other currents of the dominant cultural Marxism.

A few years ago, when I was working on a satirical TV news show, I called NASA live to let the whole audience hear it. The news of the day was that a small meteorite had fallen on a village in northwest Spain. I decided to call the association of dentists first, to assess the risks of losing our teeth in case of an unfortunate impact, and later called NASA to ask them if we Spaniards should go out on the streets wearing helmets from now on. While the dentists hung up on me without letting me sink my teeth into the matter, the woman who answered the phone at NASA had more of a sense of humor. She laughingly declined to make any statement on the subject, even though I reasoned with her: “You, who live up there in space, among the Martians, have privileged information that can help us citizens and you have a duty to share it.” After I assured her that Spaniards were truly anxious about the possibility of new meteorites, she said that if “it made them feel any better,” citizens could go out with helmets on.

Hours later, the headline of the interview made its way into the press and social networks: “NASA recommends wearing a helmet on the street in case of meteorite showers.” You could hear them laughing all the way over at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. We have that NASA telephone operator to thank for that. Perhaps those from the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity should consult with her before continuing to make fools of themselves. A little humor is often the best antidote to stupidity. I don’t know if the telephone operator was fired or if she was sent to the moon. But, wherever she may be, I pay homage to her astronomical sense of humor.

All this business about nomenclature, focusing on the packaging and not on the contents, reminds me of a story from old Madrid. An elderly nun with a charming smile stepped into a crowded Metro subway. Carrying two large bags, she was shouting, “Mind the eggs, careful with the eggs!” One passenger rebuked her angrily: “Sister, how does it occur to you to take the subway at rush hour with two bags of eggs?” And the nun, still with her sweet smile, answered: “They’re not eggs, they’re pins.”

Translated by Joel Dalmau

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