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High School - Algebra 2

Not many high school students may know this, but algebra can actually be used for launching rockets into space. Once they realize that rocket scientists use this subject to do their jobs, they may think twice about calling it lame and useless.

Rocket scientists have to flex their math skills to make sure that rockets reach the upper atmosphere successfully. Yes, that does involve a lot of algebra too.

Now, going back to how to make sure a rocket reaches space. The journey from Earth to space spans about 100 kilometers. Not that far away considering how fast rockets can fly, but that’s 100 kilometers straight up, making it much harder. The rocket must be powerful enough to push through Earth’s gravity, and for it to do that, the rocket would require a certain amount of fuel. How much fuel is needed would depend on the mass of the rocket.

To find out how much fuel is needed to launch a rocket with a given mass into space, rocket scientists calculate it using a formula known as, conveniently, the rocket equation. The actual equation is a bit complicated, but it does involve a lot of concepts of advanced algebra, like the natural logarithm, summations, and limits.

Rocket scientists use this equation, along with a great deal of other equations, to make sure that satellites, astronauts, and supplies for space stations get launched up there successfully. A rocket that falls back to the ground is always a very expensive mistake. Therefore, algebra is indeed a useful branch of mathematics.

Without it, no one could enjoy the precision of finding his exact location through the GPS of his smartphone. And no one would also be able to predict the weather or enjoy live TV. Those satellites had to be launched into space using that equation.