A pure science like astronomy rarely contributes directly to our everyday lives – although, of course, it adds to our scientific, philosophical and cultural experience of the cosmos. The processes and phenomena discovered in space are generally of such a scale (in size, time or energy, for example) that they have little relation to the human experience. However, a notable exception is the research on nuclear processes occurring in stars which indirectly led to the development of nuclear power (and weapons).

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Beyond that, we could list technologies prevalent in everyday life that were originally developed for astronomy (like digital cameras and MRI scanners) or discoveries actually made in space (on the ISS, for example) which have led to important innovations (including pharmaceuticals, or treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s). Of course, every time you check the time you are using the astronomical discoveries of humankind.

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Asked by: Shaun Doyle, Belfast

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