Among the many technological breakthroughs of NASA's Apollo project to land a man on the Moon was the Apollo Guidance Computer that flew onboard Apollo spacecraft.
To win the right to add a block to the blockchain, you have to solve a difficult problem: finding a block whose SHA-256 hash starts with a minimum number of zeros.
The only known way to accomplish this is by brute force: miners create a block with a random nonce and compute its hash value.
The required number of zeros is automatically adjusted so that the network produces a new block once every 10 minutes, on average.
This mostly reflects 50 years of progress in computing hardware.
Thanks to Moore's law, modern chips have vastly more transistors and can operate at much higher clock rates.