top of page
  • Natasha Tsakos

Moonshot Power

Our minds are expanding. Our mental maps are changing. We are taking the whole universe in!



Let’s take a moment, can we?


Let’s take it in…


Because fifty years ago, on July 20, 1969, at 20:17 Universal Time Coordinated, the improbable, audacious and impossible happened. Apollo Lunar Module landed on the moon and people transported themselves through television screens. Neil Armstrong took one step, and everybody leaped. The world was transfixed. I wasn’t born when it happened, but I watched it decades later. Transfixed too. I wanted to be an astronaut! I still do. But I discovered Theatre before rockets. My metaphor of a spaceship, for now.


Few moments in history have galvanized that collective feeling of wonder. And that is what moves us isn’t it? That is why we are here. For the infinite quest into the unknown. It’s irrational. It makes no sense. There is no purpose other than endlessly figuring out what the purpose is. We are natural space travelers.


As of today, 561 people have gone to space, 61 of which were women, representing 24 countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Syria, Ukraine, The United States, and Vietnam. But only 12 humans have seen Earth from deep space, and when they did, none of them belonged to any country. They saw the world as it is: borderless and full of bridges, a pale blue dot floating in the cosmic sky.


12 humans. That’s what the headlines had room for. But the success of any Moonshot relies on a buzzing beehive of cooperation. Apollo 11’s mission, employed some 400,000 men and women working through thousands of commercial and governmental entities. The enterprise took 4 percent of government spending and was stretching the best minds working across the globe.


So here we are 50 years later, honoring the many humans who propelled us into an era of exploration and celebrating the boom of a Space Age: Space X, Blue Origin, Moon Express, The Indian Space Research Organization, SpaceIL, are all planning to go back to the Moon or land on Mars in the next 3 to 5 years. NASA announced it will launch Artemis in 2024: and aboard will be the first woman on her way to the moon. The First Woman.


It’s a big deal - and it’s about time! Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space 27 years ago, said “space travel is about opening the spirit and opportunity of exploration to anyone and everyone, because everyone needs to be represented in Space.”


And so while we shoot for the Moon, Mars, or the precious metals of asteroids. In the same galaxy, is a planet orbiting the sun four times faster than a space shuttle, spinning on itself faster than a bullet, inhabited by billions of peculiar aliens, and millions of different life species, most of which have yet to be named and cataloged. That’s us. Living in a place we barely know, waking up to a time of exponentials we barely understand. That's us, traveling at hyper speeds, sharing finite resources in a world of technological abundance.


That’s us. Representing and speaking on behalf of all of this planet's incredible biodiversity: animal, mineral, vegetable, our own human species: green, pink, spiky, slimy, furry, masculine, feminine, tall, short, fat, thin, more melanin, less melanin. Man made words. Scientifically: we are part of one diverse, dynamic, delicate, and yes, dysfunctional interconnected system. Culture.


Raise your hand if you dream of going to space? I do too! In fact I want to create shows for space. I want to catapult us out of mental orbit while we’re out of orbit (imagine how far we would be then!). But if we are to become a multi planetary species, we must embody the fundamentals of what it takes to be a good steward on this planet. Think about the 18 countries orbiting us right now, cooperating on a daily basis, performing research for everybody down on Earth. What a hopeful example they set for us. Let's scale that!


Our minds are expanding. Our mental maps are changing. We are taking the whole universe in. Thanks to the marvels of science, technology and creativity, we can externalize our ambitions, launch into the unknown, propel ourselves at thousands of miles an hour, escape velocity, catch an orbit, and arrive elsewhere. And the rocket can be as literal or as metaphorical as we want it to be. It’s our theater to make.


Because this is not just about the literal Space, is it? It’s about all kinds of spaces: our head space, physical space, the space between us, within us, the space to dream, to grow, to be the best that we can be. It’s about applying the philosophy and learnings from the real astronauts, those who represent us and the best of humanity. Those who have trained for years and learned how to nurture an inclusive culture, how to collaborate and cooperate, take calculated risks, overcome fear with competence, how to lead while knowing how to play, those who’ve learned enough about everything so to minimize room for errors, because failure is not an option.


We live in a time of magic, as Nancy Conrad said this morning. Today, we have supercomputing powers in our pockets, a million times more powerful than all of NASA had fifty years ago. Moonshot power at the tip of our fingers. Moonshot power to commit ourselves to solving the most improbable, audacious, and impossible challenges, from the Oceans to the Moon, from Nebulas to Neurons. One step at a time.


Our evolution is in the making.


Take it in.


And plan your Moonshot carefully.




Talk Transcript at the SDG Moonshot conference presented by NOVUS and The United Arab Emirates Permanent Mission to the United States at the United Nations, July 20th 2019. Introduced by Salim Ismail, Founding Executive Director Singularity University and author of Exponential Organizations




 

PS: Join me on my adventure training at NASA Johnson Space Center, and flying in the ZERO-G Lunar Parabolic Flight as part of Dr. Patricia Cowings' Lunar-G and Impedance Study Flight.



QUOTES


"That is why we are here, for the infinite quest into the unknown. It’s irrational. It makes no sense. There is no purpose other than endlessly figuring out what the purpose is."


"Our minds are expanding. Our mental maps are changing. We are taking the whole universe in."


"We can externalize our ambitions, propel ourselves at thousands of miles an hour, escape velocity, catch an orbit, and arrive elsewhere"


"The rocket can be as literal or as metaphorical as we want it to be. It’s our theater to make."


"Scientifically: we are part of one diverse, dynamic, delicate, and dysfunctional interconnected system. Culture."


"If we are to become a multi-planetary civilization, we must embody the fundamentals of what it takes to be a good steward on this planet. Think about the countries orbiting us right now, cooperating on a daily basis, performing research for everybody down on Earth. What a hopeful example they set for us. Let's scale that!"






0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page