Landing a man on the moon made for a great moment in history and television. Probably every American alive at the time remembers Neil Armstrong coming down the ladder of the Lunar Module on July 20, 1969, and uttering the memorable phrase, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped onto the surface on the moon. It was the culmination of the huge effort of the Apollo space program and a proud moment for the thousands involved in project as well as the nation.
For some naysayers, it was all just a massive waste of money. The total cost of the program was a steep $20 billion dollars at the time, roughly equivalent to $100 billion dollars today. Even with the huge numbers often thrown around today, it is still a gigantic cost. Not just in terms of dollars, but resources and manpower, too. Of course, some people believe the whole thing was shot in a studio in beautiful downtown Burbank, California.
So what did we get for all this money besides being able to stick it in the faces of those pesky Russians that we beat them to the moon? Some believe we got absolutely nothing other than technology only a very few are allowed to use, such as rockets, spacesuits, and other cool stuff. However, tons of stuff most of us use everyday came from either the Apollo program or the many space missions that followed. Cordless power tools, the modern microchip, CAT scanners, the videogame joystick, LEDs, shoe insoles, scratch-resistant lenses, and memory foam all came from the space program. And that is just a small list. Lots of technology eventually trickled its way down to us.
Off-road racing can also consume huge loads of money and be viewed as a waste. We would never call it a waste. It’s too damn fun, but there are a few odd people who could see it that way. It is true, not a lot of people actually get to do it, but there are way more off-road racers than astronauts. And, of course, plenty of us who enjoy being a part of it, whether as spectator, crewmember, or a fan.
Like the trickle down from the space program, off-road racing technology has trickled down to us mere mortals, and you don’t have to own a Trophy-Truck to be able to enjoy the tech. Coilovers built for off road were once found only on high-end racing machines, but are now commonplace, whether on the trail or in the desert. Bypass shock technology was once the realm of Trophy Trucks only, but now can be found on vehicles straight from the manufacturer like the Ford Raptor. HID lights were once considered only for those who go extremely fast in the desert, but now are commonplace. The same LED lights used by the professionals can be had by anyone. Massive increases in tire performance and puncture resistance have been made through off-road racing and incorporated into tires you or I can buy. Even wheels have been designed and made stronger thanks to lessons learned in the crucible of off-road motorsports.
Basically, it is easier than ever to increase the performance of your play car, prerunner, trail rig, or daily driver using technology once available only for exotic race machinery. Even better, technology is trickling down at a much faster rate than ever before. With the new Dirt Sports + Off-Road, we plan to bring you as much of it as we can, so you can expand the performance of whatever you own.