Tipping Point

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Achieving the Tipping Point on our way to the Moon

Have you ever noticed that new ideas seem to have an up hill battle for a long time and then seem to take off. This phenomenon is called Tipping Point could be critical to the success of our return to the Moon.

The Phenomenon

When human beings start a major task, for a long period at the start it appears that there is no progress at all, in fact, you think you are losing ground. During this period even small problems and personal conflicts can stop the project.

Actually progress is governed by a power law. The early part of this type of curve is very flat, and in this case, noisy, and fragile. It is very hard to measure progress.

Later the idea starts to grow and gain support. Progress is still following a power curve but now it is clearly above zero.

At some point the idea crosses the knee of the curve. You feel a great rush of power and the rate of progress actually starts to get scary. This is not time for the faint of heart or for power freaks as control slips away.

Crossing that knee is the tipping point. From there on out the idea will gain power like a rock rolling down hill. No force on Earth can stop it.


There is a long standing and readable book on this phenomenon:

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, ISBN-13: 978-0316346627

Required Level

Intuitively one would think that the tipping point would be at about the half way point. It is not. It is, quite reliably around the 1/3 point on the way to our goal. This effect seems to be a property of the power curve. This low threshold makes our task much easier than one would suspect.

A Purpose for Lunarpedia

One purpose of Lunarpedia then is to promote the idea of human beings returning to the Moon to stay until it crosses its tipping point. After that the idea will have the power to push on to completion.

Return to Purposes List.