A NASA consultant wrote an open letter Tuesday about why they decided to resign after the agency rejected a request to change the name of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Lucianne Walkowicz, a non-binary, wrote that she was resigning “because NASA’s treatment of questions regarding James Webb as an option to name its next major mission had made it a farce. [NASA Astrophysics Advisory] لجنة. “
The letter was also sent to NASA’s Astrophysics Advisory Committee.
A petition circulated earlier this year calling for a name change to the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope is named after former NASA Administrator James Webb, who also held a senior position at the State Department. Critics say it has allowed the dismissal of gay and lesbian federal employees, including the case of Clifford Norton who worked for NASA, NPR reported.
Efforts to change the name were unsuccessful, with NASA telling NPR that after investigating the issue, the telescope’s name would not be renamed.
“We have not found any evidence at this time that calls for a name change to the James Webb Space Telescope,” NASA Administrator Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William Nelson NASA won’t rename the James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy The US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) unveils a new system to reduce times for planes to taxi lanes. He told radio news outlets.
Walkowicz – who has an asteroid named after them – said the agency’s response not to consider a name change “sends a clear message about NASA’s position on the rights of queer astronomers.” It also clearly tells me that NASA is not worth my time.”
“After the past year and a half, not only have we experienced the pandemic, but also the national struggle with issues of racism and human rights, it boggles the mind that NASA has so little insight into its involvement in systematic repression,” they added in their letter. “What does it mean, for example, for NASA Headquarters to rename its title to ‘Hidden Figures Method’, when NASA itself hid the characters of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson to begin with?”
Hill reached out to NASA for comment.