What Does Moonshot Mean? Boris Johnson’s Plan For Christmas Not Being Cancelled Has Several Concerning (And Rude) Meanings…

In his most recent press conference, Boris Johnson couldn't stop saying moonshot - but what does it mean?


by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

Move over Hands, Face, Space, there's a new coronavirus word in town - Moonshot.

During his press conference this afternoon, Boris Johnson made several references to making a 'moonshot' plan.

The Prime Minister was referring to his idea that people could be mass tested, daily, in the morning, with a test resembling a pregnancy test, and find out in '20 minutes' whether or not they're infectious with coronavirus. This would mean they could then go about their day and go to work, enter a stadium or have a big family Christmas, safe in the knowledge that no-one would give each other coronavirus.

The Prime Minister's term seemed to pick up pace as he repeatedly branded it his 'moonshot' plan.

While Boris seemed to think this could be possible by Christmas, Chief Medical Office Chris Whitty did appear to be more reserved on whether this technology would be possible - and when it would be.

But what does moonshot mean?

Worryingly, Macmillan Dictionary says it's 'a type of thinking that aims to achieve something that is generally believed to be impossible.'

A bit like a bridge to Northern Ireland? Or an airport in the Thames maybe?

Another definition states: 'Moonshot is an ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking project undertaken without any expectation of near-term profitability or benefit and also, perhaps, without a full investigation of potential risks and benefits.'

ANY EXPECTATION. COOL. Sooooo... not really a word we all want to be pinning our Christmas hopes on?

©Urban Dictionary

Also, worryingly for Boris, Urban Dictionary says there's a very different meaning to the phrase...

After the government's Eat Out To Help out embarrassment, don't they have anyone checking these things?

Will 'Operation Moonshot' be possible by Christmas?

With the introduction of the 'rule of six', many people are talking about if Christmas could be pretty much cancelled - or, at least, a lot smaller this year.

Asked in the press conference if the Prime Minister thought we could be back to 'normal life' by Christmas as he'd previously claimed, he said moonshot was the way forward.

'I’m still hopeful as I’ve said before that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas,' he said.

'I talked just now about how we could do that, through that moonshot of daily testing - a pregnancy style test that gives you a passport to mingle with everybody else who is similarly not infectious in a way that’s not currently possible.'

What do the scientists think whether the moonshot plan can work?

Government Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Mr Whitty seemed less convinced.

Speaking in the press conference and asked about 'operation moonshot', Mr Vallance said it was 'completely wrong to assume this is a slam dunk that can definitely happen.'

Mr Whitty was also cautious, especially about the idea something as ambitious as this could be available by Christmas. He said it was 'important not to pin ourselves to a date. That's not the way science moves'.

For now, we're not going to hold our breath. We'll wear mask, though...

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