Hawaiian name “Makaola” given to Venus gas

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Astronomers have always wondered, is there life on Venus?

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Recently, a team in Hawaii discovered the gas Phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere, and they marked the occasion with a new Hawaiian name.

Larry Kimura, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke’elikolani College of Hawaiian Language, was asked to give a Hawaiian name to the new discovery.  

Thinking of how the mesh of a fishing net is all connected, he created the name “Makaola.”

“The eye of the net, for people who, fishermen who make net nowadays, because that’s the Hawaiian word, Maka,” said Kimura.  “And in making the net, it’s a whole network of eyes. And you start, if you’re making a throw net, you start with the piko which is the beginning of the net. And then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and it’s all connected.”

If we break down the new name, “Maka” means “eye” or “beginning” and “Ola” means “life.” 

“You know, it represents to me something that we already documented in our genealogical creation of the universe chants,” said Kimura.

“I call them chants because we didn’t have a written language before. It was chanted.” 

Scientists said that the unexpected discovery is intriguing but added that the possibility of life in Venus’ atmosphere is still unlikely. 

Hawaiian language and science have come together in recent years to create a program called “A Hua He Inoa,” one where Hawaiian speaking students work Hawaiian language educators and Hawaii scientists on naming astronomical discoveries.  

For more on that, you can visit the website www.imiloahawaii.org/a-hua-he-inoa.

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