Boris Johnson isn’t prime minister quite yet, but if the cringe moments during his leadership campaign are anything to go by (we’re still thinking about the kipper) then we’re in for many more ridiculous moments.
Discussing the Irish border problem in his latest Daily Telegraph column, Johnson said that finding a solution would require Britain to harness the spirit of the moon landing. This comparison comes as the world celebrated 50 years since humans first stepped on the moon.
If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.
There is no task so simple that government cannot overcomplicate if it doesn’t want to do it. And there are few tasks so complex that humanity cannot solve if we have a real sense of mission to pull them off. It is time this country recovered some its can-do spirit.
But the claim was quickly rebuked by space experts, who said that (surprise, surprise) Johnson’s claims weren’t entirely accurate.
Space engineer Max Fagin wrote on Twitter:
1) The Apollo reentry wasn’t ‘frictionless’,” Fagin wrote. “2) It’s not friction that causes most of the heat on reentry. It’s radiative transfer from the glowing shockwave. 3) I’ll be in the UK for another day. Trade you a seminar on this subject for a tour of parliament?
He wasn’t the only one to take issue with Johnson’s comparison. Others pointed out that the space program required thousands of staff and hundreds of billions of dollars.
Nice try, Boris.