Despite the fact that NASA’s spokesperson has admitted that NASA needs to make the jump to using the International System of Units (SI units), it will be building its next space shuttle using Imperial units. The international community is complaining that this will make their shuttle difficult to use by other countries because of the conversions that will be necessary for them to use it. Additionally, it shows that NASA hasn’t learned from the incident back in 1999 when it lost an unmanned probe due errors in unit conversions between metric software and SI systems on board. NASA argues that it would cost entirely too much to convert their equipment and blueprints to SI units instead of the archaic Imperial units they currently use.
It has always really frustrated me that the system of measurements I learned in school is not universal and, more importantly, is not the system being used by most scientists. We’re at enough of a disadvantage in science due to the fact that many of us speak different languages, can’t we at least have a universal measurement system? I understand that it would take a lot of money to make the switch, but we’d pay to make the switch once and from now on everyone would be on the same page. Heck, Canada has already done it (mostly)!
For an article on NASA’s decision to stick with Imperial measurements, check this out.