Tag Archives: name’

Cleveland MLB team to change name: reports

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will discontinue the use of the word “Indians” in the team’s name, according to the New York Times and ESPN. 

Citing three people familiar with the decision, the Times reported Sunday night that the team is moving away from a name considered racist for decades. The team has been internally discussing a potential name change for months.

CBC Sports has not independently confirmed the reports.

A team spokesman told The Associated Press the franchise has no immediate comment on the report.

The Times said the team could make a formal announcement later this week. It’s not known when the name change will take effect or if the team has settled on a new moniker.

Cleveland’s move follows a similar decision earlier this year by the NFL’s Washington Football Team, which was previously known as the Redskins.

In Canada, Edmonton’s Canadian Football League team announced in July it would discontinue the use of the word “Eskimo” in the team’s name.

For years, Native American groups and others have protested against Cleveland’s use of Indians as its name as well as other imagery used by the American League charter franchise founded in 1901. Last year, the team removed the contentious Chief Wahoo logo from its caps and jerseys, but the smiling, cartoonish mascot has remained popular and merchandise is still sold bearing its image.

The Indians have dealt with a backlash from fans upset over Chief Wahoo’s removal and the club is certain to hear more with the decision to change its name.


“Oh no! What is going on?” President Donald Trump tweeted. “This is not good news, even for ‘Indians.’ Cancel culture at work!”

In July, just hours after Washington’s plans became known after being pressured by several sponsors, including FedEx which holds naming rights to the football’s team’s stadium, Cleveland owner Paul Dolan released a statement saying the team would review “the best path forward with our team name.”

In the months since, the team has consulted players, front office members, coaching staff, community leaders, share holders and Native American groups.

A few days after Dolan’s statement, Indians manager Terry Francona said it was time to “move forward” with the name change.

“I’ve been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement,” said Francona, who has been with the club since 2013. “I know in the past, when I’ve been asked about, whether it’s our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we’re never trying to be disrespectful.

“And I still feel that way. But I don’t think that’s a good enough answer today. I think it’s time to move forward. It’s a very difficult subject. It’s also delicate.”

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CFL’s Edmonton franchise won’t confirm reports of name change

The CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos are refusing to confirm two published reports that the team will change its name.

TSN and Postmedia are reporting the Edmonton club will make the change, following the Washington NFL team’s decision to do the same earlier this week.

A spokeswoman for the Edmonton club said the team had no update Friday morning.

Pressure has mounted in recent weeks for sports teams to eliminate racist or stereotypical names.

Critics say the Edmonton team’s name is a derogatory, colonial-era term for Inuit.

Aaron Paquette, a city councillor in Edmonton, tweeted that he met with the CFL club on Thursday and, while he didn’t confirm the name will be changed, he was “very impressed with the potential coming out of our conversation.”

“I had an extremely productive meeting with [Edmonton’s] own football team today after they accepted my invitation to share ideas & perspectives,” Paquette wrote.

“I can’t say any more but we’ll see what develops.”

WATCH | Washington NFL team to change nickname:

Washington’s NFL team has announced it will drop the Redskins name after decades of complaints it was racist and growing pressure from sponsors. 2:08

In February, the Edmonton club announced it was keeping the name following year-long research that involved Inuit leaders and community members across Canada. The club said it received “no consensus” during that review.

On July 8, the Edmonton club promised to speed up another review of its name and provide an update by the end of the month. In that statement, the club noted “a lot has happened” since it made the decision in February.

One of the team’s sponsors, national car-and-home insurance provider Belairdirect, had announced a day earlier that it was rethinking its relationship with the team because of the name.

WATCH | Pro sports teams reconsidering Indigenous nicknames:

CBC News’ Raffy Boudjikanian reports on the Washington Redskins’ plans to review their nickname, followed closely by the Cleveland Indians’ decision to reconsider their team nickname. 2:30

Other sponsors also said they would welcome a review of the name.

Boston Pizza said “as part of a larger shift in our overall marketing strategy, Boston Pizza recently ended its sponsorship of Edmonton’s CFL team.” It tweeted the statement as a response to someone asking about whether it planned to follow the lead of Belairdirect.

All this happened as NFL’s Washington team said it would undergo a thorough review of its name. A similar announcement was made by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians.

‘Time for a change’

It is unclear when Edmonton would play its first game with a new name, if the change goes through. The CFL in June postponed the start of its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no guarantee the league will play this year.

There have been repeated calls in the past for the Edmonton team to change its name.

Canada’s national Inuit organization in 2015 said it was time for a change.

“It isn’t right for any team to be named after an ethnic group,” said Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada’s 60,000 Inuit. Obed has said that Inuit people are not mascots.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, citing Obed’s statement, said in 2017 that the team should take steps toward a name change.

Although American Inuit continue to use the word Eskimo, northern people in Canada left that name behind about the same time they began negotiating their land claim in the 1970s.

Many historians believe the origin of Eskimo comes from an Algonquin term meaning “eaters of raw meat.” Others believe it comes from another Aboriginal term that refers to people wearing snowshoes.

The people themselves have used the word Inuit for centuries. It means “the people” in Inuktut.

Founded in 1949, the Edmonton team has won the Grey Cup 14 times, second only to the Toronto Argonauts at 17. The community-owned club’s impressive history on the field includes a record five consecutive Grey Cups from 1978 to 1982.

Edmonton set a North American pro sports record by qualifying for the playoffs in 34 straight seasons from 1972 to 2005.

Other sports teams in Edmonton used the Eskimos name before the CFL club was founded.

There is no indication whether Edmonton has considered any possible new names.

The team applied for the trademark “Edmonton Empire” in 2018 for use on souvenir items.

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The Chicks, Formerly the Dixie Chicks, Reveal What They Almost Changed Their Name To

The Chicks, Formerly the Dixie Chicks, Reveal What They Almost Changed Their Name To | Entertainment Tonight

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B.C. hockey team to change name out of respect for First Nations

The owners of the Saanich Junior Braves, a hockey team on Vancouver Island, say they will change their team’s name and logo out of respect for Indigenous communities. 

The team’s name and logo have been in use since 1967 when it first joined the Vancouver Island Junior League.

Norm Kelly along with Edward Geric, the owners of the team, announced in a statement that the team name “is not respectful to our First Nations and does not reflect the valued relationships we hold with local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players.”

Kelly, speaking with host Rohit Joseph on CBC’s All Points West, said the change was not prompted by a particular controversy.

“I’ve never had anyone come up and say they were upset or disgusted,” said Kelly, adding the name had sparked conversations over the years.

“But we feel like we want to be leaders rather than followers.”

For years, there have been calls for a number of sports teams to reconsider their names on the grounds of offensiveness. The calls have intensified in recent months, especially in the wake of massive anti-racism protests in North America and increasing pressure from sponsors.  

The CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos say they have accelerated the process of reviewing their team name following recent calls from sponsors. They will provide an update by the end of July.

The NFL’s Washington Redskins, whose name is an Indigenous slur, have been particularly resistant to criticism. But the team now says it will undergo a “thorough review” of their name after its stadium sponsor, FedEx, demanded a name change, and Nike, the league’s official outfitter, dropped the team’s merchandise from its online website. 

Others, however — notably the MLB’s Atlanta Braves and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks — say they’ve done work to build relationships with Native American communities and won’t be considering a name change. 

Kelly says making a name change is a big decision, especially for teams in the professional leagues.

“It’s a large process. It’s an expensive process. It would be more so for them,” he said. 

For now, his team will be referred to as the Saanich Junior B team until a new name and logo can be selected. He says the team has always had a good relationship with the community and any criticism for dropping the Braves moniker is “no more than usual.”

Kelly said he doesn’t know what, exactly, this process of renaming will look like, although it will involve input from the First Nations and Saanich community. 

“I think it will be good for our hockey team to start with a fresh set of goals and values.”

Listen to the full interview with Norm Kelly on All Points West here:

The Edmonton Eskimos and some other sports clubs have been facing increasing pressure to change team names deemed offensive by many communities. Some are resisting the criticism. Others have tried to compromise by changing their mascots. But a hockey team on Vancouver Island is embracing the moment and is making a major change. The Saanich Junior Braves has announced they are getting a new name. Norm Kelly is a co-owner of the team and he spoke with Rohit Joseph. 9:23

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Edmonton CFL team heeds sponsors’ calls, accelerates review of potential name change

The Edmonton Eskimos said Wednesday they would be “accelerating our ongoing process of review” of the club’s nickname following recent calls by sponsors to do so and provide an update by the end of July.

Longtime sponsor Belair Direct, a car and home insurance company and one of the team’s 13 premier partners, on Tuesday called for a change of the team’s name that has been in place since the late 19th century, saying its use is no longer appropriate.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the feedback and input regarding our name,” Rose Mary Phillip, the Edmonton team’s vice-president of marketing and communications, said in a email to CBC Sports. “We take this issue seriously, as has been demonstrated by the three years we’ve spent engaging in Canada’s North and conducting research related to our name.

“We recognize that a lot has occurred since this information was gathered, and as a result, we are accelerating our ongoing process of review. We will be seeking further input from the Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions moving forward.”

The organization will “continue to listen carefully and with an open mind.”

Call for ‘concrete action’

Belair Direct, in a statement to CBC News on Tuesday, said in order for the company to continue its partnership with the football organization “we will need to see concrete action in the near future, including a commitment to a name change.”

Edmonton’s team has seen repeated calls for a name change in the past, and faces renewed criticism as sports teams in Canada, the United States and elsewhere are urged to remove outdated and sometimes racist names and images.

However, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation — which represents Inuit who live in Canada’s western Arctic region — said it does not take exception to the term “Eskimo” and said it supports the use of the word “as long as it is used in a respectful manner.”

“It was developed by a First Nations group to describe a group of Inuit they were aware of,” IRC chair Duane Smith said in an email to CBC News last week. 

“As it pertains to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, they do use the term out of respect and have been reaching to the Inuit organizations and communities to develop collaborative approaches within those communities to promote education, awareness, respect, healthy recreational pursuits and reconciliation.”

He acknowledged that not all Inuit will agree, but said “education and awareness amongst Inuit about this term will further understanding and respect for it.”

Study found ‘no consensus’ to support name change

Five years ago, Canada’s national Inuit organization said it was time for a change.

“It isn’t right for any team to be named after an ethnic group,” said Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada’s 60,000 Inuit.

Last Friday, the team reiterated that it would not change its name, but promised to increase its engagement with Inuit communities to evaluate their views on it.

In February, the Edmonton organization announced it would keep the name, saying it had conducted a yearlong research process that involved Inuit leaders and community members across Canada. That study, the team said, found “no consensus … to support a name change.”

Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd., which has a product partnership with the team, said it has spoken with Edmonton team management and shared its concerns about the name.

“We have asked them to strive for consensus about their name in their community engagement activities with Inuit communities as soon as possible,” spokesperson Kathy Murphy said in an email.

A Jiffy Lube location in Edmonton supports the further engagement, wrote Kelly McClung, vice-president of marketing and operations for Lube-X and Jiffy Lube operator in Canada.

“We look forward to hearing feedback from their ongoing discussions,” she said.

Fellow sponsor Fisherman’s Friend also expressed support for the re-engagement.

Blackhawks keeping name

The threat from Belair Direct comes days after the Washington NFL team’s stadium sponsor FedEx, along with other sponsors, asked the team to change its name.

The Washington Redskins, whose name contains a racial slur, responded Friday, saying it would undertake a review. Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who retired their racist caricature “Chief Wahoo” logo in 2018 but kept their name, also said Friday they would review their name.

WATCH | Washington NFL team reviewing team name:

The NFL’s Washington Redskins say they will undergo a “thorough review” of the team’s Indigenous-slur name, after pressure from sponsors and an international focus on racism. 2:06

On Tuesday, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks said they will continue to use their team name because it honours a Native American leader who has been an inspiration to generations.

“The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac and Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in a statement Tuesday. 

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CFL sponsor threatens to cut ties unless Edmonton changes team name

One of the sponsors of the Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimos says it will cut ties with the team unless it changes its name.

Longtime sponsor belairdirect, a car and home insurance company, said Tuesday the team’s name, which has been used since the late 19th century, is no longer appropriate.

“One of our core values is respect, which is founded on seeing diversity as a strength, being inclusive and collaborative,” the company said in a statement to CBC News.

“Guided by this value, in order for us to move forward and continue on with our partnership, we will need to see concrete action in the near future including a commitment to a name change.”

Belairdirect’s statement said the company has shared its position with the team.

A spokesperson within the Eskimos organization told CBC Sports the team was preparing an internal statement that would likely be released Wednesday.

WATCH | Washington NFL team reviewing team name:

The NFL’s Washington Redskins say they will undergo a “thorough review” of the team’s Indigenous-slur name, after pressure from sponsors and an international focus on racism. 2:06

The threat from belairdirect comes days after the Washington NFL team’s stadium sponsor FedEx, along with other sponsors, asked the team to change its name.

The team responded by launching a review of its name. Major League Baseball’s Cleveland team also said it will review its long-debated nickname.

In February, the Eskimos announced they were keeping their name, saying the team had conducted a year-long research process that involved Inuit leaders and community members across Canada. That study found “no consensus … to support a name change,” the team said.

Last Friday, the team reiterated that it would not change its name, but promised to increase its engagement with Inuit communities to evaluate their views on the CFL team’s name.

“We recognize that there has been increased attention to the name recently and we will ramp up our ongoing engagement with the Inuit communities to assess their views,” the CFL team said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks said they will continue to use their team name because it honours a Native American leader who has been an inspiration to generations.

 “The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the NHL team said in a statement Tuesday. 

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Princeton to remove former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson’s name from public policy school

The latest:

Princeton University has announced plans to remove the name of former president Woodrow Wilson from its public policy school because of his segregationist views, reversing a decision the Ivy League school in Princeton, N.J., made four years ago to keep the name.

University president Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the school community Saturday that the board of trustees had concluded that “Wilson’s racist views and policies make him an inappropriate namesake” for Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs and the residential college.

Eisgruber said the trustees decided in April 2016 on some changes to make the university “more inclusive and more honest about its history” but decided to retain Wilson’s name, but revisited the issue in light of the recent killings of George Floyd and others.

Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even as he pleaded for air and stopped moving.

Wilson, governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913 and then the 28th U.S. president from 1913 to 1921, supported segregation and imposed it on several federal agencies not racially divided up to that point. He also barred Black students from Princeton while serving as university president and spoke approvingly of the Ku Klux Klan.

Earlier in the week, Monmouth University of New Jersey removed Wilson’s name from one of its most prominent buildings, citing efforts to increase diversity and inclusiveness. The superintendent of the Camden school district also announced plans to rename Woodrow Wilson High School, one of the district’s two high schools.


Woodrow Wilson is pictured in 1924. (The Associated Press)

“Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time,” Eisgruber said.

The former president’s segregationist policies “make him an especially inappropriate namesake for a public policy school,” he said.

The trustees said they had taken what they called “this extraordinary step” because Wilson’s name was not appropriate “for a school whose scholars, students, and alumni must be firmly committed to combatting the scourge of racism in all its forms.”

The school will now be known as the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, he said. Princeton had already planned to close Wilson College and retire its name after opening two new residential colleges currently under construction but will change the name to First College immediately.

Eisgruber said the conclusions “may seem harsh to some” since Wilson is credited with having “remade Princeton, converting it from a sleepy college into a great research university,” and he went on to become president and receive a Nobel Prize.

But while Princeton honoured Wilson despite or perhaps even in ignorance of his views, that is part of the problem, Eisgruber said.

“Princeton is part of an America that has too often disregarded, ignored, or excused racism, allowing the persistence of systems that discriminate against Black people,” he said.


The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University is pictured in 2015. (Mel Evans/The Associated Press)

Four years ago, a 10-member committee gathered input from Wilson scholars and more than 600 submissions from alumni, faculty and the public before concluding that Wilson’s accomplishments merited commemoration, so long as his faults were also candidly recognized. The committee report also said using his name “implies no endorsement of views and actions that conflict with the values and aspirations of our times.”

Thousands call for justice in death of Black man put into chokehold

Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside a suburban Denver police building Saturday to call for justice in the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man put into a chokehold by police last year.

McClain’s death last August has prompted a handful of small protests over the last 10 months, but his case has garnered renewed attention amid the global outcry sparked when Floyd died.

Saturday’s demonstrations in Aurora were organized by the Denver chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Denver Post reported. They began with a march and rally, which were expected to be followed by a youth-led protest and a violin vigil.


Demonstrators carry placards as they walk down Sable Boulevard during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain on Saturday in Aurora, Colo. McClain died in late August 2019 after he was stopped while walking to his apartment by three Aurora Police Department officers. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

One protester, 25-year-old Franklin Williams, came to show support and make sure the fervour continues.

“This shouldn’t be a moment,” Williams said. “This should be a movement.”

Social media posts of the protests early Saturday afternoon showed crowds of people demonstrating peacefully while police forces stood by wearing tactical gear.

Some in the crowd chanted, “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.”

Marchers walked behind a banner reading, “Justice for Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora police.”

Mississippi moves to remove Confederate battle emblem from state flag

Spectators at the Mississippi Capitol broke into applause Saturday as lawmakers took a big step toward erasing the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, a symbol that has come under intensifying criticism in recent weeks amid nationwide protests against racial injustice.

“The eyes of the state, the nation and indeed the world are on this House,” the second-ranking office in the Mississippi House, Jason White, told his colleagues.


The gallery of the Mississippi Senate rise and applaud Saturday after the body passed a resolution that would allow lawmakers to change the state flag. (Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press)

The House and Senate voted by more than the required two-thirds majority to suspend legislative deadlines and file a bill to change the flag. That would allow debate on a bill as soon as Sunday.

Saturday’s vote was the big test, though, because of the margin. Only a simple majority is needed to pass a bill.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said Saturday for the first time that he would sign a bill to change the flag if the Republican-controlled legislature sends him one. He had previously said that he would not veto one — a more passive stance.

Alabama officer fired after posting image of protester in crosshairs

An Alabama police chief says one of his officers has been fired after posting a photo on social media that depicted a protester in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.

Former Officer Ryan Snow was fired Friday, Hoover police Chief Nick Derzis said.

The officer posted the image on Facebook Tuesday in response to an article about protesters at the Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta where Rayshard Brooks was killed, AL.com reported. Protesters torched the restaurant June 13, the night after police killed Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in the restaurant parking lot after he resisted arrest and fired a Taser while he was running away.

Snow admitted to posting the image, which also included the comment: “Exhale. Feel. Pause. Press steadily. That’s what’s next,” Derzis said.

“When I saw the post and the image, it sickened me,” Derzis said. “It certainly did not adhere to the standards expected of every officer who wears our uniform.

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated in our department and is not representative of the professionalism expected by all of our officers.”

Hoover is just south of Birmingham and home to about 86,000 residents.

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NASA Will Name Its Headquarters After ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary W. Jackson

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Credit: NASA

NASA executive Jim Bridenstine announced this week that the organization would be naming its headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, one of the women whose historic contributions to NASA were explored in the 2016 film Hidden Figures. Jackson was portrayed by actress and musician Janelle Monae in the film.

Bridenstine said:

Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology. Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.

Mary_Jackson_working_2_-_Restoration

Mary Jackson working. Credit: NASA

In 1958 she became NASA’s first Black engineer, after first obtaining special permission to attend engineering classes at a segregated, all-white school. After working as an engineer at NASA for nearly two decades, she led the Federal Women’s Program and the NASA Office of Equal Opportunity before retiring in 1985. She died in 2005 and was posthumously awarded the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act in 2019. Her contributions to science were largely ignored for decades, along with the work done by Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan.

Space and space exploration were huge areas of interest for me growing up. The first encyclopedia entry I ever read was in the “S” volume. “S” — for “Sun.” When I had to write a story in fourth grade, I wrote it about NASA. I still have my battered, ancient copy of We Came in Peace: The Story of Man in Space. My first memory of a national event was seeing the Challenger explosion on live TV. The Right Stuff is one of my all-time favorite movies. I even liked the movie SpaceCamp. Don’t @ me. I like space.

You know who I never heard about, in all the deserved paeans to men with last names like Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins? I never heard about Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, or any other African-American. Nobody ever told me that African-Americans — much less African-American women — were a critical part of the Apollo moonshot. I daresay none of the people in my life who would have been happy to convey that information knew it themselves. I’m certain they would have told me. Giving me new information and turning me loose on the card catalog was one of the only ways to shut me up.

When the Mercury Seven visit the workshop where their capsule — excuse me, spacecraft — is being constructed in The Right Stuff, there’s not an African-American in sight. I’m not claiming anyone went out of their way to make that happen. It happened, most likely, because nobody thought it mattered in the first place. Either that, or the film’s producers were unaware there were African-Americans who contributed to the science of spaceflight, which is part of the problem.

I’m not literally arguing there should have been African-Americans in this specific scene. I’m using the scene because it’s one of a relative handful of times in the film when you see the astronauts engaging with a group of scientists. If you wanted to show that African-Americans played a role in the engineering and testing of the Mercury spacecraft, you’d have probably done it here.

It’s not uncommon to see people question the need for diverse representation in media or the value of changing a name. The value of these actions is that they create a more accurate picture of who contributed to the successes and achievements of America, and more broadly, the entire human race. It matters that the NASA Headquarters will be known as the Mary W. Jackson building. People look at buildings. Sometimes, they even Google their names to learn about the people they are named for.

When we honor the names and achievements of the formerly hidden, we push back at a historical myth — namely, that the Apollo Program and NASA’s pioneering work in aeronautics in the mid-1960s was entirely the work of white men. Women like Jackson, Johnson, Vaughan, and the other “hidden figures” deserve to be recognized in enduring ways. The phrase, after all, isn’t “We came in peace.” It’s “We came in peace for all mankind.”

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Astronomers Give Asteroid Moon a New Name Before NASA Hits It With a Spacecraft

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We’d be out of luck if a killer asteroid had Earth in its crosshairs today, but NASA and the ESA are preparing for the first test of technology that could one day save the planet. The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is set to launch in a few years, and now its target has a proper name. The small moonlet that was once known as Didymos B is now Dimorphos. 

Astronomers discovered Didymos in 1996 not knowing that it would end up being the perfect target to test NASA’s asteroid redirect technology. Didymos passed close to Earth in 2003, revealing the existence of a small natural satellite in orbit. Didymos itself is less than a kilometer across, but its satellite is only about 160 meters in diameter. After discovering the moonlet, astronomers renamed the object Didymos, which is Greek for twin. The moon ended up stuck with the awkward “Didymos B” moniker. 

DART is a kinetic impactor mission — it’s going to crash into Didymos B at high speed. This is an ideal way to test the effect of an impact because we can observe changes in its orbit around Didymos. That makes the asteroidal moon an important object, and it wouldn’t do to keep calling it Didymos B. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) eventually went with a suggestion from Kleomenis Tsiganis, a planetary scientist at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a member of the DART team. The name “Dimorphos” means “two forms” in Greek, which reflects NASA’s impact to significantly change the object’s orbit. 

In 2022, the DART spacecraft will head off to the Didymos-Dimorphos system. The spacecraft will have a mass of roughly 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds in Earth gravity) and almost no scientific payload. The sun sensor, star tracker, and 20cm aperture camera will help the spacecraft locate and smack into Dimorphos at 3.7 miles per second (6 kilometers per second). The Italian Space Agency will send a cubesat along with DART, but it’ll detach before impact. This will allow scientists to monitor the immediate aftermath, but we won’t have the full picture until the ESA sends its Hera mission to Didymos in 2024. Hera will be able to accurately measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos. 

Analysis of the DART impact could tell us if brute force is likely to deflect a dangerous space rock, and if so, how much warning we would need to knock it off course. We might also learn this isn’t an effective way to protect Earth, and other proposals like slowly pushing the asteroid with a rocket or tying it to a smaller rock are better ideas.

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Bindi Irwin on Keeping Her Last Name as a Tribute to Her Late Father Steve (Exclusive)

Bindi Irwin on Keeping Her Last Name as a Tribute to Her Late Father Steve Irwin (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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