We choose to do these things because they are hard

In 1962 John F Kennedy made what is probably the iconic speech on space travel,

One of the key points in the speech was answering “why go to the Moon?”,

“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too”

Today I was thinking about this speech and I thought, how many times have these hard things been done since then. Well here’s the answer,


Sources, flights (I couldn’t find long-term historical traffic data), Everest (-9 ascents pre1962), Rice vs Texas. For the non-Americans the last example was because the speech was made at Rice University and every few years Rice plays the University of Texas, a school 16 times its size, at American football.

And if you think it’s bad for Rice try being a Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (7-28 last 3 seasons) fan like me.

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