Will 2023 be the year civilians fly around the moon for the first time?
According to Japanese business tycoon Yusaku Maezawa, the answer is yes.
His brainchild project “DearMoon”, expects to take a group of eight people to the moon on SpaceX‘s Starship and circle around Earth on a six-day mission.
Declared by Maezawa and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk back in 2018, originally planned to invite artists from around the world to experience. Now, however, in a new promotional video for the mission, Maezawa announced that DearMoon would be opened up to virtually everyone across the world.
“I began to think that maybe every single person who is doing something creative could be called an artist,” he says in the video.
According to Maezawa, a total of 10 to 12 people will be on board for the first flight around the moon.
Maezawa outlines “two key criteria” for the civilian passengers. These seem fairly flexible, too.
“Whatever activity you are into, by going to space, I hope that you can push its envelope, to help other people and greater society in some way.”
“You have to be willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.”
Elon Musk makes attendance in the video to explain the mission expects to take people “further than any human has ever gone from planet Earth” because it will fly past the moon and loop around it to head back home.
Musk added that he’s “highly confident” that the Starship will have reached orbit “many, many times” before 2023 and that it will be “safe enough for human transport” by the time the mission is scheduled to launch.
Although Musk has been making these kinds of bold claims, it is a bit worrying that the Starship prototypes are yet to make a successful landing.
The selection process is yet to be clearly defined for DearMoon, but the website’s schedule appears to have crew selection by July 2021. According to the team, you can pre-register now and should hear more about the selection process soon.