We are currently going through some tough times, with a new disease spreading throughout the world and the economy seemingly going through its worst period since the great depression. But, There has been a few strange things that have been happening in the background of all this chaos.
That is because as we have seen throughout history, strange things tend to happen during desperate times.
For example, After World War 2, Tensions were high between the United States and The Soviet Union. Both superpowers began jockeying for position to see who would become the worlds one true superpower.
And this threat of war caused some of the greatest technological advancements in history.
You see, both the USSR and the United States had ballistic missiles that would launch, stay within earths atmosphere, and then eventually hit their target from hundreds of kilometres away.
But the distance between Moscow, and Washington D.C was 7800km. So if these superpowers wanted to be able to hit eachother with a nuclear strike, they would need a new piece of technology.
That is when the USSR developed the first intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM in 1957. It was the first missile capable of entering sub-orbital space, and hitting a target on the other side of the planet.
But almost by accident, the USSR had developed something else. In an effort to ensure the safety of its country, theSoviets developed ICBM’s…and inadvertently built the technology that connected human civilization with space.
Within months after their first ICBM test in 1957, the USSR used the same ICBM to launch the first satellite into Space…they called it Sputnik.
Now, today we view sputnik today as a technological masterpiece. But during its time, it was viewed as one of the scariest things in history to the western world. In fact, after the Soviets launched sputnik…it created a worldwide panic called ‘The Sputnik Crisis’ where the public experienced fear and anxiety over the technological gap between the west, and the USSR.
The United States viewed Sputnik as a serious threat to National Security. So president Eisenhower said the The United States will respond with “Resourcefulness and Vigor”.
The president was then able to get enough public support to create two Agencies. NASA, and DARPA…
He was also able to dramatically increase spending on Education and Research and Development.
Over the course of the next decade, the USSR and United States would keep trying to one up eachother. This was the called ‘Space Race’.
And this space race led to innovations that would reshape our entire world. For example, DARPA created the internet as a way of sending information from one point to another in a safe a secure manner during the cold war. Computers became significantly more advanced during that time. It also created spinoffs of other technologies like GPS, Cat Scans, Athletic Shoes, Water Purification, Artificial Limbs, and many more.
You see, a perceived national security threat in the 1950’s from both the USSR and The United States ended up catalyzing the creation of new technologies that would create a better world for the future.
And that might be one of the things that we are seeing today, even though it might be happening in the background. You see, Vaccines normally take about 4 years to develop from the time scientists start experimenting with new vaccine ideas, to the time where the vaccine is approved for the public.
But this time is different. The entire world views this new virus as a threat, just like how most people in the world felt during the cold war. So more funding and public support is now going towards biotechnology research, in hopes of neutralizing the threat.
And well, here’s what we are seeing so far. Throughout history, vaccines have worked by injecting weakened or killed versions of a virus, into the person getting the vaccine. But that process was going to take too long this time around.
So, around the world, researches have begun experimenting with new ways to create vaccines that might be 5, 10, or even 20 times faster than before.
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