The icy rock, which orbits in the dark and frigid Kuiper Belt about a billion miles beyond Pluto, was surveyed by the NASA spaceship New Horizons in January, with images showing it consisted of two spheres stuck together in the shape of a snowman.
Its technical designation is 2014 MU69, but the New Horizon team nicknamed it Ultima Thule (pronounced Tool-ey) after a mythical northern land in classical and medieval European literature described as beyond the borders of the known world.
That name sparked an angry reaction as it was co-opted by far-right German occultists in the early 20th century as the fabled ancestral home of "Aryan" people—the term they used to describe proto-Indo-Europeans.
Members of Thule Society founded a political party that evolved into Adolf Hitler's Nazi party, and the term remains popular in alt-right circles.
It is, for example, also the name of a Swedish white-power rock group.
The new official name, which was chosen by the New Horizons team and ratified by the International Astronomical Union, was announced in a ceremony at NASA headquarters Tuesday.
A NASA statement made no mention of the controversy.
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