It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for galactic name-calling.
Earlier this month, it was reported that a band of Ukrainian astronomers gave star KIC 9696936 the name “Putin-Huilo!” — a phrase which reportedly roughly translates into “Putin is a d—khead” — through the star-adoption service the Pale Blue Dot project, which lets anyone name one of those giant glowing balls of space plasma for a minimum $10 donation toward space research and education.
In an interview with the Moscow Times, the project’s founder says the stellar name, which has become something of a popular saying in Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea, is staying put.
“Free speech is now written in the stars,” said Travis Metcalfe, who notes that the astronomers adopted the star well before the meaning of the name came to light. “We have no plans to censor any of these star adoptions.”
Putin himself hasn’t commented, but if he did, his response would probably go something like this.