We often hear the phrase “Moonshot mindset” referring to huge leaps of discovery and progress, driven by the purest sense of exploration, curiosity, and daring attitude to the unknown—to the difficult options few even consider trying. It refers to the attitude that led us to land people on the moon, a promise made when it seemed too crazy, too impossible. In researching this book, many people referred to this mindset, and even named as the Mecca of Science to places like Google’s “Moonshot Factory”. The more I investigated it the more I realized there was much more than what it seems. In fact, this chapter is dedicated to unfolding the somewhat uncomfortable truth of the “Moonshot mindset” that led us to the moon. A mindset where values seldom associated with this attitude were key for achieving the lofty goal.
We went to the Moon due to a deep political and financial commitment, an obsessively focused project management attitude, with no space for any unaccounted exploration, but for achieving the stated goal. In that sense, the Moonshot mindset had a precursor in the discovery of the atomic bomb just a few years early, and a shared political and strategic common background. There are important lessons to learn when looking at how we first achieved the Bomb, then then Moonshot, and what we can learn about when doing science driven by impact.
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