This is the most common question I usually get when meeting new people in Denmark. The second most common question is: “What’s planetary science?”
So after saying, “Y’know… planets…” and gesturing towards the sky, there are a few surefire options for the following conversation:
1. So what’s your favorite constellation?
2. Oh! Planets! That’s like astrology, right?
3. What’s your opinion on Pluto?
And on rare occasion, I’ve gotten (separately): “Want to make out?” and, “Europa is my favorite planet.” (followed by a lengthy argument trying to convince me that Europa is, indeed, a planet. In the same conversation, the same dude also asked me, “Is San Francisco near California?”)
More often than I’ve expected, people have responded that they’ve always been interested in space and astronomy, but for some reason or another they haven’t pursued it. It seems like there is a pretty high general interest in the subject, but usually space studies stay in the hobby-zone because the career path is deemed too stressful, or tedious, or limited. So I asked Professor Johnson to elaborate on some of the awesome possibilities that stem from a degree in planetary science / astro 🙂 Check it out here!