Say what?! NASA and its hilariously named satellite project


Cape Town - The name of one of NASA's satellite programmes has got Twitter buzzing again for its unfortunate link to a South African swear word. 

The Polar Operational Environmental Satellites NASA programme, or P.O.E.S. for short, first got a chuckle out of South Africans in 2008 and has periodically made a comeback to amuse the Twittersphere over the last 10 years. It has resurfaced once again on GoodThingsGuy recently and it's still as hilarious as the first time.

SEE: One step for mankind: Mars simulation mission releases crew from isolation

Despite its blushing name, the project is very important for collecting climate data that tells the world whether or not they need to pack their umbrella for the day. It's first satellite launched in 1960 and the last one launched in 2009, according to its website

They send their data to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US, and luckily this organisation's acronym is scandal-free.

Some people on Twitter remembered it' being shared before.

WATCH: NASA's Cassini in pioneering plunge beneath Saturn's rings

Others saw it as an opportunity to tune their friends without being crude.

 It was also pointed out the NASA's name gave the joke an even funnier twist.

Perhaps it was on purpose?

All in all, everyone had a good laugh.

WATCH: First 360° livestream of a NASA rocket launch

South African Slang

Just in case, here are some of South Africa's other colourful slang words in case NASA is looking for the perfect name for their next project.

Aikona: A very emphatic 'no'.

Eish: An expression for when life throws you curve balls.

Lekker: When everything is good with the world.

Shem: Stems from 'shame', this is traditionally used with a dollop of sarcasm. 

China: Unlike the People's Republic, we have appropriated it to mean 'friend'.

Mfethu: Similar to 'china', this is used in the context of 'dude', and normally preceded by 'what up'.

ALSO SEE: NASA's Juno probe spots 'chaotic' storms on Jupiter

Brollie: With the weird weather we're having, we like to grab our 'brollies' aka umbrellas just in case.

Chise: When you chatting up or flirting with the hottie on the train.

Kiff: Like the musician, this tells you when something is 'cool'. Not so cool when your parents use it though.

Robots: When we tell you to turn at the robots, we mean the traffic lights. We don't have actual robots. Yet.

Jol: For when you hit the clubs with your chinas.

Now now: No one has been able to accurately describe how long 'now now' is - it's just an understanding all South Africans are born with.

What are you favourite SA slang words? Let us know!

What to read next on Traveller24

PICS: Thunderstorms hit hard across SA causing damage in some parts 

UPDATE: Travel ban lawsuits filed by legal centre, Muslim advocates 

#EcoTravels: Eskom and Sasol emissions are harming and killing Highvelders

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
When and why would you have your or your partner's sperm count checked?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
That's an unnecessary procedure
17% - 224 votes
As soon as we decide to start a family
6% - 79 votes
Only if we're struggling to conceive
77% - 1028 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo