A Film Challenges the James Webb Telescope's Controversial Name

The documentary features at least 10 space experts who endorse a name change. Updating the telescope’s name “would help send the message that NASA in its current era does not tolerate the same sort of intolerance that was present in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s,” Tessa Fisher, an astronomer at Arizona State University, tells the documentarians. “I think we can do better than naming a scientific instrument that has the possibility to answer questions that the entire world is interested in after a Cold Warrior,” says writer and space historian Audra Wolfe, author of the book, Freedom’s Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science.

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