While “semantics” are oftentimes brushed off as trivial or nit-picky, the importance of meaning, reference and truth within words cannot be underestimated—and its significance exists everywhere, even in space. NASA is working to recognize and replace “inaccurate and harmful language” that abides by outdated gender biases within the American space program by continually updating their style guide. Today, it’s still common to see “manned” used when describing spaceflights (reminder that Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space way back in 1963), whereas NASA suggests “piloted” or “crewed.” Not only are the many preferred terms more accurate, they will also encourage the next generation of aerospace workers to see that it’s a field for everybody. Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.
Image courtesy of NASA