SPACE TOURISM

“dearMoon” mission: This could be your free ticket to the Moon

Japanese billionaire announces a contest to select 8 people on a private SpaceX flight around the moon in 2023

If all goes well, we should be entering an era of space tourism in the next couple of years. Heralded by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and bankrolled by Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa, the pioneering private space flight is expected to lift off in 2023. Dubbed as Project “dearMoon”, it was originally announced by Maezawa and Elon Musk in 2018. Interestingly, this is around the same time NASA’s manned lunar mission Artemis is expected to launch.

Originally, Maezawa had announced that he wanted to take artists from around the world, on a free ride, on a journey of a lifetime. Revisiting that earlier criterion for artists, the entrepreneur is now saying that he is looking for people from all walks of life. The proposed week-long journey promises to be nothing short of spectacular. And I am pretty sure visiting the Moon would be on the bucket list of millions.

He has outlined two key criteria for the accompanying civilian passengers. The first one is how you can “push the envelope” and help the people & society, in whatever you are doing, by going to space. And the second one is the willingness and ability to support other crew members who share similar aspirations. The Japanese billionaire announced the competition on his Twitter handle.

“It will be 10 to 12 people in all, but I will be inviting 8 people to come along on the ride. I hope that together we can make it a fun trip.”

~ Yusaku Maezawa

According to the official website of the project, the selection process for the crew would entail the following five steps — Pre-registration by March 14, Initial screening concluded by Mar. 21, Assignment, Online Interview followed by a final interview and Medical checkup to be concluded by late May 2021.

In the introductory video about the mission (above), Musk is proposing that the privately funded space mission would take humans further than anyone has ever gone beyond planet Earth. The mission is expected to loop around the moon before emerging from the other side to head back home.

Keep in mind though, a lot of things can go wrong before this pioneering mission, as we saw in the most recent Mars ship prototype exploding after the first intact landing. Musk has reiterated that the starship would reach orbits many times before the actual flight. And we all know that Musk could be a little audacious with his claims, as we have seen on previous occasions. So let’s keep our fingers crossed.

However, considering Musk’s ability to eventually come through and what SpaceX has achieved so far, I have no doubt in my mind that the mission will go ahead — give or take a few hiccups. So what are you all space buffs waiting for?

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