Last week, SpaceX announced that before the end of next year, it would launch two wealthy tourists into space, fly them around the moon, and return them safely to Earth. If the trip goes as planned, it would be the first time humans have traveled beyond low Earth orbit since 1972, when NASA sent the last crew of astronauts to the moon.
Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, made the announcement, saying he had been approached by two wealthy individuals who wanted to make the journey and were willing to pay an undisclosed price.
As technology leaders, why should we care? While it might seem tempting to dismiss the moon ride as a gimmick, there’s nothing simple or easy about making a roundtrip of more than 500,000 miles. If successful, the flight will represent an amazing feat of engineering and technical prowess.
More important, from our perspective in the tech industry, is the trip’s inspirational value. Let’s be honest: We work in tech because we find it challenging, exciting and rewarding. This is exactly the kind of news we love!
Unlike previous missions to the moon, this trip will be a purely civilian commercial venture. The passengers won’t be fearless test pilots with nerves of steel – they will be ordinary humans with a lot of money and a passionate interest in space travel.
In many ways, SpaceX is planning on doing the same thing we do already on a daily basis. Every day, we overcome incredibly complicated tech challenges on behalf of our companies, our colleagues and our customers. Day in and day out, we make the impossible look easy -- that’s what keeps us engaged in our work. We love solving complex technical problems.
Frankly, what Elon Musk is doing is great for our industry and great for humanity. He is inspiring a new generation of kids who will grow up excited by technology. Most of those kids probably won’t become astronauts, but a lot of them will become our future colleagues. They will be the developers, coders, engineers, architects, technicians and specialists we hire for our IT teams.
Decades from now, when taking a rocket to the moon won’t seem special, those kids will be leading our IT departments. And hopefully, when they look up at the moon at night, they’ll remember what inspired them to pursue careers in tech.
Please plan to attend one of our upcoming summits. We look forward to seeing you there and hearing your viewpoints on our exciting journey to the future of technology leadership.