Space enthusiasts looking for an out-of-this-world travel experience can now sign up for a chance to fly on the first civilian trip to the Moon.
Japanese fashion billionaire Yasuka Maezawa is offering up seats on SpaceX’s first lunar orbital flight, which is expected to take place in 2023.
Maezawa secured a seat for himself and eight passengers on the spacecraft back in 2018.
He originally planned to bring six to eight artists from different countries around the world along with him, with the intention of inspiring them to create art about the experience once they had returned to Earth.
However, he has now announced that general members of the public will be eligible for a seat.
Interest applicants can visit the dearMoon website and hit the “Join the Crew” banner to sign up.
The selection process will involve the following five main steps before the crew is confirmed by June 2021:
- Pre-registration by 14 March
- Initial screening by 21 March
- Online interview
- Final Interview and Medical Checkup
According to Maezawa, there are two key criteria for those who wish to become a traveller on the first civilian trip to the Moon.
Firstly, by going to space, the person needs to push the envelope of whatever activity they are into, in order to help other people and great society as a whole.
Secondly, the person must be willing and able to support other crew members who share similar aspirations.
It is not known how much Maezawa has paid for the trip, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has previously said the cost would be similar to sending an astronaut to the International Space Station.
This means Maezawa likely had to put down around $70 million. This is nothing strange for the billionaire, however, as he previously spent $100 million on a painting.
Starship readiness “promising” by 2023
SpaceX plans to use its fully-reusable Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket for the trip, both of which are currently still under development at its Boca Chica test site in Texas.
In a video detailing the dearMoon mission, Musk has said that the potential for a 2023 date for the trip is now “promising”.
“I’m highly confident that we will have reached orbit many times with Starship before 2023. And that it will be safe enough for human transport by 2023,” Musk stated.
In total 10 to 12 people will be on the flight, which will last four or five days, with the Starship being around 200 kilometres from the Moon’s surface at its closest distance.
A simplified plan for the dearMoon flight can be seen below.