• Question: What contributuions have astronomers made to society ?

    Asked by shasow15 to Colm, Eoin, Joseph, Lauren, Stephen on 18 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Stephen Scully

      Stephen Scully answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      There are so many. Here is a link to a wiki-page that lists some things associated with NASA technologies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_spin-off_technologies

    • Photo: Eoin O Colgain

      Eoin O Colgain answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      Not being an astronomer, I am probably not qualified to comment. However, I find it amazing that the universe is not only expanding, but the expansion is accelerating! Something in the universe that we do not understand AT ALL is pushing everything apart. Astronomers made this important discovery.

      Let’s compare this with a famous investment bank, since society values people who make money. This bank is currently being sued essentially by Coca-Cola who claim they are making money from the distribution of metals (aluminium). We can imagine this as the bank having a huge warehouse with a large door coming in from suppliers and a small door leading out to consumers. The bank then charge everyone (do you drink Coke?) rent while the metals are stuck in the warehouse. If true, this is completely useless contribution to society only serving to make the bank more money. 🙂

    • Photo: colm bracken

      colm bracken answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      Astronomy has always been one of the most fundamental sciences. Before our modern technology was available the sailors at sea relied on the positions of the stars for direction. This is of course a form of astronomy and without it they would be lost at sea. The ancient Mayan people were obsessed with astronomy and time, and they used the positions of the stars to make some of the most precise and longest calendars. As time has progressed astronomy has continued to be hugely important. I believe the next big contribution of astronomy to the world will be the discovery of alien life on a distant planet. This will be done by either a radio astronomer or astronomers analysing the atmospheres of exoplanets with infrared instruments.

    • Photo: Joseph Roche

      Joseph Roche answered on 18 Nov 2013:

      They make the world a better place by reminding society that it’s not just us – there is a whole universe out there <3

    • Photo: Lauren Mc Keown

      Lauren Mc Keown answered on 19 Nov 2013:

      Astronomers have contributed to society by allowing us to know what is out there in outer space. A lot of advances in technology have been made in the process of trying to figure out what is going on with the stars, interstellar space and the planets such as satellites and spin – off discoveries made in trying to send people and robots into space. A lot of important medical equipment has been made with the knowledge gained from space exploration and some huge advances in computational modelling have been developed. Hey, without knowing what the Solar System looked like, we wouldn’t even have all those great space movies we have today 😉