THIS is why we invest in science. This. | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine March 21, 2012Posted by aquillam in Science.
Tags: NASA, public_policy, rocketry, Science
When I was in college, I told a fellow student that I was an astronomy major. He said he liked astronomy and all, but he wanted to do something that actually mattered.
This actually struck me as really stupid, because astronomers generally get started because they are asking the Really Big Questions about Life, the Universe and Everything. People white whole books about those questions (not all of them humor or fiction.) Other people actually buy those books, sometimes centuries or even milenia latter. Those questions obviously matter on some level.
But I knew what he meant. “Where did the Earth come from” doesn’t really matter much if your house is on fire. He wanted to do work that would (for example) make it easier and safer to put out a fire.
The trouble is, when you’re working on better ways to put out a house fire, that’s all you do. You usually start from the current techniques, and see what modifications will make it better.The people paying you are probably going to frown on it if you say you’d like to start by building a rocket engine.
And that would be too bad, ’cause that rocket engine is amazing.