I'm not going to pretend to know a lot about asteroids. My knowledge about asteroids is pretty limited, actually. My familiarity with asteroids probably peaked sometime around 1981 when I spent too much time playing Atari.

However, I stumbled upon some pretty interesting information about one of the asteroids discovered in the 1990s. The asteroid was first discovered in May of 1990 when Fun 107 was a baby radio station, barely a year old.

Its name is Massachusetts.

Why Was the Asteroid Named After Massachusetts?

Japanese astronomers spotted the celestial body from the island of Hokkaid. At the time Hokkaid and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had just struck up a sister-state relationship. The relationship was not unlike the one formed by Manjiro Nakahama with the people of Fairhaven in the mid-1800s. The goodwill was so long-lasting that Fairhaven became the sister town of Tosashimizu, Japan.

When it came time to name the newly discovered asteroid, the Japanese named it after Massachusetts.

Kindness from the People of Massachusetts to Japan

The newly discovered asteroid was named after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts because in the late 19th century, after Manjiro had set up his roots in Fairhaven, there had been an agricultural and technological knowledge transfer from Massachusetts to Hokkaido. The Japanese were so thankful for what they had learned from the Americans that they decided to name the asteroid after Massachusetts.

How Big is the Massachusetts Asteroid?

The asteroid is 15 miles in diameter. Fairhaven, for comparison, is just over 12 square miles of land.

That's a big asteroid.

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