The team at NASA is considering renaming its new groundbreaking telescope due to anti-LGBTQ+ claims.
The impressive device is set to launch later this year and has been dubbed as the most powerful and largest telescope ever created.
But aside from its state of the art technology, many astronomers and LGBTQ+ activists have come out against the device’s namesake, James Webb.
Webb, who was the administrator of NASA throughout the 1960s, took part in some of the agency’s biggest projects like the Apollo program.
However, unsettling evidence has come out that he allegedly took part in an LGBTQ+ purge of the government.
According to a report from Scientific American, during Webb’s time as the undersecretary between 1949 to 1952, he drafted an array of memos that discussed “the problem of homosexuals and sex perverts.”
These anti-LGBTQ+ documents were allegedly sent to a senator, who at the time was taking point in the persecution of the queer community.
Shortly after the evidence was discovered, a petition was drafted by the four astronomers – Lucianne Walkowicz, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Brian Nord and Sarah Tuttle – in an effort to rename the new telescope.
“We felt that we should take a public stand on naming such an important facility after someone whose values were so questionable. It’s time for NASA to stand up and be on the right side of history,” the four astronomers wrote.
The document accumulated over 1,250 signatures and has sparked an investigation by NASA chief historian Brian Odom.
David Johnson, a historian who wrote the LGBTQ+ nonfiction book The Lavender Scare, opened up about the new findings and revealed that he found no evidence of Webb leading the persecution.
“I don’t see him as having any sort of leadership role in the lavender scare,” he told Nature.
He did however mention that Webb attended a White House meeting regarding the “threat” that LGBTQ+ people posed. The meeting was allegedly called to calm the hysteria surrounding the queer community.
After the investigation is complete, the final decision will be up to the current NASA administrator Bill Nelson.