NASA has renamed a space rock after controversy appeared about the old name, which apparently had Nazi connections. The object was known as Ultima Thule. The name was chosen, and it was meant to mean “farthest place,” but it attracted controversy because “Thule” is a word that was associated with Nazis in the past.
The rock, which was studied in the first-ever farthest flyby conducted by a spacecraft, will now be known as Arrokoth, which is a Native American term, which means sky.
This new name comes from Powhatan/Algonquian, and it has been chosen in cooperation with the Powhatan Tribal elders, according to NASA. It was proposed by the members of the New Horizons team, who led the mission to study the space rock. They presented the name to the International Astronomical Union and Minor Planet Center, which officially give the names and then categorizes the Kuipter Belt objects. This new name does not associate the object with Nazi occultists. The name received a lot of criticism in the past ever since it was announced.
NASA chose the name because of how it related to a Latin metaphor, which was used to describe placed that are far away and entirely unknown. However, Thule was part of the Nazi mythology, describing the place where the Aryan race began. The German Thule Society was a part of the historical Nazi thought, and the word is still used by neo-Nazis today. Those from the New Horizons team, who chose the name, stated that they knew about the links, but decided to defend the name even with the connections there. They said that just because some bad guys liked the term in the past, they were not going to let this fact hijack the name.