Funded by a Japanese millionaire, the DearMoon mission intends to send eight people around the moon and back in 2023
Will civilians fly around the moon for the first time in 2023? Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa believes so. He is financing the DearMoon mission, which is aimed to take a group of eight people to the moon on SpaceX’s still-in-development Starship and circle around Earth’s natural satellite on a six-day mission.
The project, announced by Maezawa and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2018, initially intended to invite artists from across the globe to experience. The benchmark for “artists” was never clearly categorized, but on Tuesday, during a fresh promotional video for the mission, Maezawa announced that DearMoon would be opened up to literally everyone worldwide. Maezawa started thinking that probably every single individual doing something creative could be called an artist.
A total of 10 to 12 people will be on board for the first flight around the moon. The billionaire entrepreneur had also started developing a matchmaking TV show around searching for a girlfriend he could take to the moon on the mission, but Maezawa dropped the idea shortly after its announcement.
Musk makes an appearance in the video to tell that the mission awaits to take people more than any human has ever gone from Earth as it will fly past the moon and loop around it to head back home.
Musk is quite confident that the Starship will have reached orbit much before 2023 and that it will be safe enough for human transport by the time the mission has been scheduled for launch. Musk is inclined to make these kinds of claims before and after missing a deadline or two. The Starship prototypes are yet to make a successful landing. The next prototype is programmed to fly and land this week. However, that’s a long way from reaching the moon and be back.
The short-listing process hasn’t yet been clearly defined for DearMoon. However, the website’s schedule seems to have crew selection by July 2021. You can pre-register now and can hear more about the selection process sometime after March 15, 2021.
Another SpaceX mission intends to send civilians to space very shortly. Known as Inspiration4, it aims to send humans to orbit aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon, lifting off on top of a Falcon 9. It is also sponsored by a billionaire, Jared Isaacman, and it could fly before the year-end.