Ship that was to be named Boaty McBoatface launched

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Britain’s newest research vessel, which was deemed too important to be given the less-than-serious name Boaty McBoatface, launched launched last week with a more distinguished moniker: the Sir David Attenborough.

When British scientists sought public input in 2016 on what the $287 million vessel should be called, Boaty McBoatface was overwhelmingly decided upon.

However, scientists decided the ship’s work was too important to be given a name concocted by a British DJ who urged listeners to vote for it online. The story went viral, and thousands cast votes for Boaty McBoatface.

“This is a serious science ship that required the name of a serious scientist,” British Antarctic Survey director Jane Francis told The Guardian, the writer, broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.

Francis acknowledged that the furor around the name helped generate interest in the ship and to publicize the survey’s mission to investigate whether warm waters are melting the glaciers and ice shelves of the Antarctic.

And Boaty McBoatface lives on as the name given to the research submarine aboard the ship.

British scientists have yet to learn the lesson from the naming debacle. The U.K. Space Agency opened a contest to name its next Mars rover, set to launch in 2020, according to Time.

The top contender so far? Rovy McRoverface.


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