In 1961, more than a year before his famous “We choose to go to the Moon” speech at Rice University, President John F. Kennedy announced his intention to Congress for NASA to land on the Moon within the decade. Many were not yet convinced that the benefit of the effort would be worth the cost. The resulting Moon landing, on this day in 1969, was arguably the greatest technological achievement in the history of mankind.
The effort to land a man on the Moon brought together thousands of the best minds but none of them had any experience leaving the surface of the Earth and landing on another celestial body. This was new and unknown territory for everyone involved and innovation was the key to success. Innovation is more than just solving a problem that no one has solved before. It is taking the risk of ignoring conventional wisdom to do what no one dared do before, in spite of detractors.
NASA engineers knew that if they failed, they would lose the confidence and support of the world. Space travel is a very dangerous endeavor, and while there were failures and setbacks along the way, even at the cost of human lives, NASA persisted until they succeeded. They knew that despite the challenges, they could innovate new solutions and overcome.
One of the biggest payoffs from this monumental effort was inspiring future generations to use technology to solve problems in almost every aspect of our lives. I, like most of my colleagues, was born after the 1969 moon landing. I did not get to experience the event firsthand, but I did experience many of NASA’s achievements that came after. I watched the first launch of Space Shuttle Columbia and have grown up with so many new technologies that were inspired by the science of the Moon landing.
The Moon landing inspired me to want to be an astronaut growing up and to always be fascinated by science and technology. It inspired me recently to visit the Kennedy Space Center with my son so he could experience the history of the Apollo missions firsthand. It inspired me to want to work for innovative technology companies like Scale Computing. I know from experience that innovation isn’t something that comes easily.
Like NASA in 1961, some of the most innovative organizations have detractors who don’t believe they can succeed or that the benefit isn’t worth the cost. Those organizations that have taken the risk of going forward even when others don’t believe in them have become some of the biggest successes in technology innovation.
Innovation has given us better communications, greener sources of energy, more effective healthcare, safer transportation, and countless other benefits to mankind. Here at Scale Computing, we want to celebrate innovation and all of those risk-takers out there developing the next great technology innovations that will inspire the next generation. We owe it to those who showed us that it was possible to reach for the stars and keep innovation alive and well, now and in the future.
Congratulations to NASA on continuing to inspire us 50 years later!