I recently read an article about the work it took to land a man on the moon. In the quest to put a man on the moon NASA stumbled across several important inventions. The article listed all of the innovations and technical progress that took place as a result of chasing that goal and I was amazed at how many of things we use in everyday life are a result of space exploration.
Here are President Kennedy’s remarks from May 25, 1961 that jump started the process:
First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior.
As far as inventions that resulted from the pursuit of space exploration, I’ve got a list of things you’ll be familiar with and some of which you may use every day:
Cordless drills, fire resistant material such as that used in mattresses and worn by fire fighters, the ear thermometer used every day at GVMH, the technology used in LASIK surgery, satellite radio – think “XM” and “Sirius”, scratch resistant eyeglass lenses, memory foam – – just to name a few…
Sometimes lofty goals create achievements and opportunity beyond the actual goal itself and we have similar experience here at GVMH. In 1999 we embarked on a journey to compete for the Missouri Quality Award. As you know we were chosen as a recipient in 2013 so we did eventually reach our ultimate goal but as a result of the process over 14 years we implemented a few things like surveying patients and staff about their level of satisfaction, identifying in-process measures to have immediate feedback to make course corrections, strengthening our strategic planning process to assign specific action plans to help meet our objectives and making better use of data.
Sometimes the end result isn’t the only result that matters.