The UK's former Chief Scientist will today call on the world's leading scientists to turn away from space exploration and particle physics, and look instead to the big challenges facing the globe - like climate change, population growth and poverty in Africa.
At the BA Science Festival, Sir David King will suggest what he describes as a "re-think of priorities in science and technology and a redrawing of our society's inner attitudes towards science and technology."
That would mean less funding for projects like the Hadronn Collider at Cern, moon or Mars landings, and a re-direction of scientific thinking towards problems that threaten civilization.
It's a powerful debate that needs to take place. There's no doubt that the world is moving into a period of crisis that will take both brainpower and fantastic amounts of cash to solve. King suggests an "all hands to the pump" approach, which may be exactly what it takes to save us.
On the other hand, the kind of projects King suggests should be sidelined have shown real benefits to society in many areas not directly related to the project at hand. When radical new thinking takes place, spin-offs can come out of left-field.
On a more mundane note, if science pulls back to global concerns, does that make SF more valuable as the keeper of the flame for science's 'higher purpose' of interaction with the universe and the endless possibilities that may provide?