- Edward Snowden, for the impact his leaks (though they began in 2013) have continued to make? (Or William Binney, for similar reasons?)
- Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzay, who fought a difficult battle for children's right to an education?
- Telescope popularizer John Dobson, who died earlier this year at the age of 98, after bringing space a little more down to earth for many thousands of people?
- May-Britt Moser, her husband Edvard Moser, and John O'Keefe for their discoveries about how the brain navigates through the world?
- Eben Upton, whose little educational hardware project has bloomed into millions and millions of cheap, hackable Linux computers?
- How about Maryam Mirazkhani, the first woman to become a Fields medalist?
- Theo de Raadt, who stepped in with replacement project LibreSSL soon after cracks appeared in OpenSSL, and who's been helming the OpenBSD project since 1995?
- The ESA team that landed a probe on a comet, or the ISRO engineers who managed to send a probe to Mars on a shoestring budget?
- Anita Sarkeesian, for helping draw attention to undue harassment faced by women in the video game world?
- Someone relatively quiet or obscure who's nonetheless made the world better through some kind of interesting innovation or contribution?
Read on below to see how you can take part, and then nominate your favorite in the comments below.
Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.
Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. "There's a bathroom on the right" standing in for "there's a bad moon on the rise" is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives.
Finally along with knowledge, we're governed by familiarity: we are more likely to select a word or phrase that we're familiar with, a phenomenon known as Zipf's law. One of the reasons that "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" substituted for Jimi Hendrix's "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" remains one of the most widely reported mondegreens of all time can be explained in part by frequency. It's much more common to hear of people kissing guys than skies.
According to the exobiologists, these mysterious shrimps and its symbiotic bacterium may hold clues "about what life could be like on other planetary bodies." It's life that may be similar—at the basic level—to what could be lurking in the oceans of Europa, deep under the icy crust of the Jupiter moon. According to Emma Versteegh "whether an animal like this could exist on Europa heavily depends on the actual amount of energy that's released there, through hydrothermal vents." Nobody is seriously planning a landing mission on Europa yet. But the European Space Agency aims to launch its JUpiter ICy moons Explorer mission (JUICE) to make the first thickness measurements of Europa's icy crust starting in 2030 and NASA also has begun planning a Europa Clipper mission that would study the icy moon while doing flybys in a Jupiter orbit.
Culberson is a champion of a mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa is an ice-covered moon that is thought to conceal an ocean of water, warmed by tidal forces, which might contain life. Using the heavy-lift Space Launch System, NASA could launch a large-scale probe to study Europa and ascertain whether it harbors alien life or not. Culberson's elevation makes such a mission far more likely to occur.