Like any technology, it often is the result of war or defense. It was no different in the nineteenth century. The explorations of the polar regions were the "moon shots" of the time.
HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were military ships converted to a scientific mission. Both were "bomb" (or mortar) ships with highly reinforced hulls to withstand the recoil of their armament.
So, what's that have to do with this ???
One of the vessels of the British fleet that bombarded Ft. McHenry with "the rocket's red glare," was