On Thursday, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced the selection of an eight-member crew to accompany him on a SpaceX mission around the moon. Maezawa’s DearMoon mission aims to be the first private mission around the moon, transporting artists and creatives on a SpaceX starship.
The crew consists of eight artists from different disciplines: an EDM DJ, two photographers, a documentary filmmaker and a YouTuber, along with other creative professionals.
“I hope everyone will recognize the responsibility that comes with leaving Earth, traveling to the moon and back,” Maezawa said in a statement. video about the announcement, which has been translated from Japanese. “They will learn a lot from this experience, and I hope they will use it to contribute to the planet, to humanity.”
The full crew includes DJ Steve Aoki, musician Choi Seung Hyun, choreographer and performer Yemi AD, photographer Rhiannon Adam, YouTuber Tim Dodd, photographer Karim Iliya, filmmaker Brendan Hall and actor Dev D. Joshi, with snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington and dancer Miyu as backup crew members.
Maezawa announced his ambitious plan to fund a private mission around the moon in 2018, saying he would “[chose] to go to the moon with artists” and that each artist crew member would be asked to create a work of art that reflects their journey.
The mission is slated to use SpaceX’s Starship rocket and is targeting a launch sometime in 2023. However, the rocket has yet to make an orbital flight test from Earth, one of several key tests it still has to complete before launching. launched with people on board. plate.
The dearMoon mission is one of many SpaceX ventures into space tourism. The Inspiration4 mission launched a private crew into orbit in 2021. In April, the Axiom Mission 1 (also called Ax-1) sent a commercial astronaut and three civilians to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Seats on the Ax-1 mission reportedly went for $55 million per person, though Axiom somewhat incongruously claims it was created to make space “more accessible to everyone.”
The difference between these earlier space tourism missions and the Maezawa-led mission is that the main focus is on art rather than scientific research. There’s also a strong audience reach, the crew members said. Tim Dodd of the YouTube channel Everyday Astronaut said in a video about the crew selection that his work could encompass live streams as well as videos, and he hopes his contribution will help people “understand the grandeur of our delicate little existence.” to be appreciated in the vastness of our universe.”