According to foreign media CNET, the most distant object currently flying by human probes, Ultima Thule, has a new name: Arrokoth, which means “sky” in the Native American Powhatan / Algonquian language. In early 2019, NASA’s New Horizons probe flew over the unusually mysterious object.
NASA announced Tuesday that the new name has been approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which identifies names of space objects and features. With the consent of Powhatan tribal elders and representatives, the New Horizons team presented the name to the IAU.
Arrokoth was previously nicknamed Ultima Thule or “2014 MU69.” “Ultima Thule” is a controversial theme. It refers to a distant fabulous land, a term used by the predecessors of the Nazi political parties. The new name Arrokoth avoids these negative connotations.
Launched in 2006, the New Horizons probe explored the famous dwarf planet Pluto before visiting Arrokoth in greater depth.
Marc Buie, a member of New Horizons, said: “We believe that this ancient object is a whole of two distinct leaf-like structures that may contain answers that will help us understand the origin seilastation of life on Earth. “