I grew up in the age of NASA. We waited for launches and waited for Walter Cronkite to tell us they were home safely. We knew what each mission was to accomplish. Apollo 11 was to set first foot on the moon. Later missions drove around the surface in the Lunar Rover. Flags, and LEM bases were left there for eternity. Memories of moments.
The birth of a space shuttle program was equally exciting. My class and I submitted three different experiments (and one teacher) to the education in space program. The teacher wasn’t accepted and neither were the experiments. But we were engaged, involved and watching. I’ve since had the opportunity to meet professionals who worked for NASA (and still work for NASA). To me the most exciting thing that has happened in the past 10 years professionally.
I have to say that the NASA professionals were giants. They led us beyond the safety of what we knew into the darkness of beyond. Do not go gentle… They rose above us and left a trail for all to follow. Bread crumbs the size of planets. The science of NASA and the engineering of NASA is responsible for what I have been doing the past 20 years. IT, IT technology and computers all became smaller, faster and in the end more reliable because of the innovations of NASA.
It was in the midst of the great space race of the 1960’s that another future story was born. As much fueled by the potential of NASA as it was the imagination of Gene Rodenberry. Star Trek captured the hearts of all of the geeks that were NASA watchers. I remember watching Star Trek every day (It was on beyond my bedtime originally). It went into syndication around 1970 and I watched it every afternoon. Enthralled not by the technology only, but the rules of the show.
Do not change the course of another planets history. Do the right things for everyone. Go where no person had gone before.
My passion for what is possible with Technology was fueled by that show and NASA. NASA because it was real and right then. Star Trek because it showed not only what was possible but also what was possible with the best of attributes of humanity. That we could peace to the stars and beyond. That someday our world would not be warring states, and terrorist attacks but would be one Federated world driving to make the universe a better place.
Idealistic, yes. Possible, yes. Technology has already changed the world. It continues every day to change the world. Bionics, able to connect with the human nervous system and allow those without limbs or those who have lost function to again reach out their hand and shake the hand of others. Those bound to chairs again able to stand and walk.
I believe technology has changed the world. I think personally that the great growth of the Internet of things (IoT) will change the world even more. That humans will realize that we are one specifies. And while the person next to you might not look like you they are in the end just like you. The incredible potential of solutions like Keecker and Jibo open doors that have too long been closed. Being able to connect with anyone at any time. Being able to be there even though you are a 1000 miles away. To connect and in the end share with those on the other end.
The birth of technology was from the military. Greater weapons of mass destruction. Now is the time for social technology to being to rise. Technology geared to make it easier to connect to the person down the street or across the ocean. Technology that in the end makes us better people. People who don’t live in a box and throw stones at each other.
Because of NASA I believe technology will (and has) change the world.