I’ve just started reading a book called Longitude by Dava Sobel. It’s a history of the scientific quest for a practical method of finding longitude.
Great minds from all over Europe, from Galileo to Isaac Newton, pursued an answer. And that’s what leads us to this great paragraph:
In the course of their struggle to find longitude, scientists struck upon other discoveries that changed their view of the universe. These include the first accurate determinations of the weight of the Earth, the distance to the stars, and the speed of light."
We have no idea what might come from the pursuit of knowledge. The connections we can draw. Important revelations along the way. Some research is often scapegoated around the time budgets get passed, used as a token of waste. But this is a big presumption.
Some of the best science and discovery really begins when assumptions and predictions fail. We have no idea the riches that curiosity will reveal.