Tuesday, January 09, 2007

NASA Brings United States One Step Closer to the 20th Century

The headline at Yahoo! News says it all: NASA Finally Goes Metric (emphasis mine):

The agency has decided to use metric units for all operations on the lunar surface, according to a statement released today.

The change will standardize parts and tools. It means Russian wrenches could be used to fix an air leak in a U.S.-built habitat. It will also make communications easier, such as when determining how far to send a rover for a science project.

Map shows when different countries adopted the metric system. Green means a long time ago; red means recently; black means not yet. Click on it for the big version from Wikimedia Commons.

Curiously, prior to this announcement, NASA would use English units for some projects and metric units for others. At any rate, one can only hope that NASA's decision to go metric will inspire other government agencies to do the same. But when it comes to metrication, the United States must be careful. We don't want our non-metric friends, Liberia and Myanmar, to think we're abandoning them.

Hat tip: My sister Whitney.


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