The Harriet Tubman Space Telescope and the Lavender Scare at NASA: What Happens When a Telescope Zooms in on Earth Politics?
As we look near and far, either on the 174-megapixel images of the moon or through the new telescope named after NASA bureaucrat James Webb, take note of this new documentary behind the name. As reported by Wired, JustSpace Alliance released the documentary on YouTube in July. “The film explores Webb’s story, NASA’s opaque naming process and the growing pressure from the astronomical community to rename the telescope to alternatives like the Harriet Tubman Space Telescope, the Just Wonderful Space Telescope or simply its acronym: JWST . get the name change and for NASA to have an honest and open conversation about the naming process,” says Jackson, a video producer working part-time at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and other organizations. “
The documentary The Lavender Scare further explores the Cold War context of Webb’s tenure at NASA, telling “the little-known story of a relentless campaign by the federal government to identify and fire all employees suspected of being gay. “.
Theoretical physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein released a video statement explaining why the telescope should be renamed for astronomer Harriet Tubman. In Ms. Magazine, Prescod-Weinstein pointed out, “I believe that Harriet Tubman, as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and an all-around expert in liberating social technology, understood and utilized this cosmos that includes black and That knowledge makes her a That’s why, last year, I argued with colleagues, including fellow black astronomer and physicist Brian Nord, that NASA’s next-generation space observatory – named after a Kennedy-era executive involved in the Lavender Scare – should be renamed “Harriet Tubman Space Telescope”.
Prescod-Weinstein is the author of The Messy Cosmos: A Journey Through Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Deferred Dreamsand is an assistant professor of physics and a senior faculty member in women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire.