I work at the NASA Jet propulsion Lab. JPL is technically on a NASA site but is owned by Caltech, so it gets some benefits to being sort of government but also sort of a contractor...
Well, it turns out this works nicely for their business model. They receive 90% of public money for NASA HQ to mitigate the effects of climate change, and then get investments to do R&D to do exactly the opposite. A year ago NASA started receiving money from Chevron oil and gas, $10+ million in investing new technologies for maximizing fracking, cutting Chevron overhead costs, building robots for underground exploration of Earth. We have top JPL engineers, who came here for reasons like studying and mitigating climate change, who instead are using their skills for Chevron.
This is mostly public info but the details aren’t really accessible although I’m not under any NDA. JPL has a mission statement that goes directly against what Chevron is doing to our environment. My team works on the AI for these systems. How do I sleep at night ? Should I reframe this moral dilemma and accept this as the way business goes. Should I try to do more to stop this? I’ve talked to both of my superiors and my coworkers about this. Their explanation is the money will help NASA develop capabilities for our missions.
Because we are sort of a NASA site using NASA resources, I also feel this like using public resources on private businesses... I guess technically it is separate. Maybe I should just quit.
Now that my praise for you is out of the way, I think you should weigh your options. Can you move groups internally? Do you have any immediate external opportunities? If so, then I would get those aligned, and take your concerns up the chain of command. Are they going to cancel the chevron contract? Highly unlikely unless you scheduled a walk out like they did at Google when Google was about to help the pentagon with video imaging. It’s possible if you have that kind of passion. Will it upset the management? Most definitely. So be prepared to move around. But I’m glad you’re asking the right questions.
Did I help you? Probably not! Good luck lol