NASA named an asteroid in space after Aretha Franklin


Aretha Franklin’s legacy as the Queen of Soul was more than world-renown. The singer’s name reached all the way to the galaxy, making her a star among the stars — literally.

NASA named an asteroid in the sky after Franklin, who died at the age of 76 on Thursday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. “249516 Aretha” was first discovered in 2010 by NASA’s NEOWISE asteroid-hunting mission and will now forever exist as a tribute to the singer, who is known for hits like “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.”

“We’re saddened by the loss of Aretha Franklin,” NASA tweeted Thursday. “Asteroid 249516 Aretha, found by our NEOWISE mission and named after the singer to commemorate the #QueenofSoul, will keep orbiting beyond Mars.”

NASA also honored Franklin from its Twitter account about the moon. “We’re very sad to hear about the #QueenofSoul passing,” NASA Moon tweeted. “Rock Steady Aretha. From your steady rock out in space.”