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A new world order: Moonshots

In case you don’t know, a moonshot is where a country spends billions on a project, a plan that it hopes will define it for a generation and reap significant rewards. The first was probably the United States’ Apollo programme, when the US spent billions over a 10-year period, in order to beat the Russians to the moon.

They spent over $100bn and are reckoned to have recouped $137 per dollar in spin-offs. The Americans became a tech-savvy, middle-class nation as a result. Then a 33-year slowdown.

So what about now? Well, funnily enough, it’s the Chinese who are sticking themselves centre-stage in the moonshot stakes. They are attempting four at once.

Firstly: Transport.

More people take a high-speed train daily in China, than catch a plane in the US. This is a massive undertaking by the Chinese government, who have a 10-year plan to reduce CO2 emissions unlike any nation before.

Second: The environment.

China is swamped with air pollution, yet is determined to become the greenest nation on earth.



Just to prove they could, Chinese scientists engineered milk from a cow, that tasted like breast milk. In terms of medecine, the substantia nigra (black stuff), situated in the brain, can be responsible for Parkinsons, when it ceases to make dopamine. The Chinese are finding a way to switch it back on.


The electric car.

This is going to be massive.

An electric car, driven for one day, will use pretty much what a house uses, around 20 kw hours.

The Chinese population is around 1.4 billion and China aims to put five million “new-energy” vehicles on the road by 2020, it will be a fantastic way to save/store energy.

Let’s say the average car is only used for one hour a day, for the other 23 hours, it can suck-in, or give back energy to the grid.

While the rest of the world says; “We have to change things”, the Chinese are getting on with it; “we’re doing it now.” The consumer is at the middle of this moonshot and the generation of electricity can go two-ways; a win-win scenario.

So what are the rest of the world doing in terms of moonshots?

The US and the UK had one and that was to bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan. God help us.

Nigel Phillips


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