Taking over space

We have always had a timid and deferent approach to space.

We spent the first hundred millennia of the consciousness of our species gazing up at the stars and the sun and the moon, believing all sorts of nonsense about their nature - that the moon is a frowning man, that the stars are divine confetti, that the great black beyond is nothing more than a set of concentric spheres studded with the celestial bodies. These beliefs kept the sky and space out of our reach - something only the gods could touch.

Science then spent several hundred years shattering those notions - the sun is a star and not a chariot-borne lamp, the earth is as insignificant as it is small, space isn't really empty. Yet for all of those triumphs, space has still remained out of reach. We go there rarely, and onboard fire-breathing Titans, and our spaceships and satellites are ornate shrines to the gods of complexity.

Should we not look up at the night sky, at the one or two thousand sad and majestic creations we have launched into orbit, and think, “Is this all we have been able to do?” Most would say that's silly and unrealistic. Yet what can be more silly than decommissioning a two tonne satellite because it's facing away by a few degrees? Pardon the imagery, but it's somewhat like saying that any high school student who gets less than an A should be jettisoned from an airlock. In the last seventy years, we have created true marvels back on Earth - human-beating pattern recognition and “AI”, global digital connectivity, nanotechnology. In that same time in space, we've…flown around a bit and taken some pictures. (I think we landed on a couple of things too?)

Going to space is expensive, agreed. Being in space is punishing and difficult, agreed. Now that we've felt sorry for ourselves, let's grow up and find some cheap and creative ways of solving the problems that need solving up there.

We must pick up the pace - we perform trial and error at breakneck speed on Earth, so let's find a way to do so up in space too. This isn't negotiable - the human brain works through feedback and reinforcement, so when we have missions that are decades long, or research projects that have no hope of commercialization in the next 20 years, the teams working on them can't learn and innovate as effectively, and lose touch with the reality of the thing. We like success and we hate failure, but need both often.

The time has come to conquer space like we conquered the ocean with the compass. We just need to find our North Star.

Welcome to HERO

Hi there. It's about time you met HERO.

We live in an age of technological marvels -- of self driving cars, robotic surgeons, and awe-inspiring smartphones in every pocket -- yet for all of our advancement in consumer and health technology, one area has remained notoriously Neanderthal:

Medication.

Even the word sounds scary, right? Meds and vitamins are the main way we take care of ourselves when we're not with the doctor -- after all, performing surgery on yourself is quite hard -- yet despite all our apps and health gadgets, medication has remained resilient to change. How do I care for my heart every day? I still take Lipitor and fish oil. How do I care for my mom? I still call her and ask if she's taken her reds and her purples. It's an experience we all know well: extracting the basket of meds hidden under the sink, painfully sorting them bottle by bottle into ugly Monday-Sunday pill boxes, only then to perhaps realize the medicine was a month expired anyway. And if you're one of 65 million Americans who takes care of an at-need loved one, you feel this pain, only with the amplified frustration of distance.

This is an experience that is not only stale and tedious, it's also hurting our health. 50% of all medications prescribed are not taken or taken incorrectly, and it's not surprising -- when was the last time you jumped out of bed singing "I can't wait to take my pills"?

There has been little effort until recent years to make the health care experience enjoyable as a true priority, yet research has proven time and time again that more enjoyable experiences lead to up to 20% fewer hospital visits, up to 30% lower cost and people actually feeling better. Isn’t it about time for us to focus on the things and, more importantly, the people that really matter?

So welcome to HERO. We're thrilled to have you with us and can't wait to put the future of health care in your hands.