James Webb telescope won’t be renamed despite homophobic history, says NASA

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NASA's newest telescope is drenched in controversy. Designed as the “New Hubble”, the James Webb telescope will be bigger and better than its predecessor. However, there's one big issue: it's named after a massive homophobe.

Former NASA administrator James Webb is infamous for his anti-LGBT movement. Webb, now long-dead, was NASA's leader of an “antigay witch hunt” known as the Lavender Scare. The NASA admin's actions resulted in a purge of LGBT employees and internal interrogations to determine if employees were gay.

Astronauts and NASA employees hate the name

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After the James Webb telescope was unveiled, it was immediately hit with criticism. Everyone from LGBTQ+ activists to NASA employees saw issue with the new telescope honouring a controversial and hated figure. Professional astronauts have also launched a petition to rename the telescope with thousands of signatures.

Despite Webb’s long-reported history of bigotry, NASA still decided to name the telescope after him. Even worse, the space agency described the $10 billion telescope as needing “a name worthy of its remarkable discoveries, a name that stands for a future in which we are all free”. Instead, the telescope is named after a man widely known for restricting and punishing individual freedom.

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James Webb telescope NASA
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NASA won't rename the James Webb telescope

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However, NASA won't back down from its homophobic telescope. Current NASA administrator Bill Nelson told NPR: “We have found no evidence at this time that warrants changing the name of the James Webb Space Telescope.”

Instead, the $10 billion telescope will search the stars plastered with the name of NASA's widely despised dead past. There's nothing quite like honouring the worst parts of your agency’s history like a massive telescope, is there?

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