NASA Names Telescope After Official Who Led Agency During Gay ‘Purge’
NEED SOME SPACE
Despite backlash from astronomers and scholars, NASA said it will go ahead with naming a new telescope after a former administrator who ran the agency while gay employees were being persecuted. “We have found no evidence at this time that warrants changing the name of the James Webb Space Telescope,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. The announcement comes after 1,200 people signed a petition arguing that Webb—a former NASA administrator in the ’50s and ’60s—was complicit in government discrimination against gay and lesbian NASA employees. The petition references the firing of NASA employee Clifford Norton, a gay man. “The historical record is already clear: Under Webb’s leadership, queer people were persecuted,” read the letter. Nelson, a former Florida senator, claims that an investigation into the controversy did not reveal sufficient evidence of Webb’s discriminatory behavior.