Formally announced on March 3, 2021, dearMoon is the first civilian mission to the Moon. It is currently planned for 2023. The Starship rocket that is being developed by SpaceX will take the first civilian crew to the Moon. The trip will take astronauts around the Moon on a circumlunar trajectory. Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa purchased all the tickets for this mission. He wants to give as many talented individuals as possible the opportunity to go. He is seeking 8 crew members from around the world. So as I would like to go, here is my response:
Why I would like a slot on Starship for the dearMoon Project
I was born at the dawn of the Space Age. As a young girl I experienced the space race, eagerly watching the early rocket launches. My first heroes were the early astronauts. I marveled at their deeds and mourned when they lost their lives in pursuit of space exploration. Nothing thrilled me more than the thought of being able to launch from planet Earth and travel through the stars. As a child, I believed that I would live and work on Mars. I studied the sky and learned to make telescope mirrors. I created my website, Astra’s Stargate, to share my knowledge of astronomy and space exploration with others.
There's a feature on the Moon that can only be seen at an oblique angle when the western limb is tilted slightly toward Earth. Its name is Mare Orientale and though it is located on the western limb, we call it the Eastern Sea because it was discovered by space probes. I'd love to fly in a giant Starship above the Orientale basin! This is a wonder I would love to share with others, to see clearly that which is so huge and yet hidden on Luna’s earthward face. Please take me with you when you fly away to see our neighbor Luna, close and clear!
- - Dawn Jenkins, aka Astra
About Yusaku Maezawa
Born on November 22, 1975 in Kamagaya, Japan, Yusaku Maezawa is an entrepreneur and art collector. He was the drummer for the punk rock band Switch Style. He also is known as "MZ". He founded Start Today in 1998 and launched the online fashion retail website Zozotown in 2004. Today Zozotown is Japan's largest fashion retailer. dearMoon is an art project that MZ conceived as a civilian mission for people who could spread the love and interest for space exploration through art and modern media.
MZ launching for ISS on Soyuz Rocket!
Yusaku Maezawa went to the International Space Station on Soyuz. Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin flew MZ and Yozo Hirano on Soyuz MS-20 to ISS. Yozo Hirano assisted MZ working on video production. And speaking of video, MZ's YouTube channel documented his training. MZ and Yozo are the first Japanese civilians to fly in space. MZ ran a contast to decide what activities he should perform while on the ISS. He took the top 100 suggestions with him to space, rewarding the winners with a mission patch.
On December 20, 2021, the Soyuz MS-20 spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station. It safely landed in Kazakhstan, bringing the first Japanese civilians' mission to a close. MZ's mission to the ISS lasted more than 11 days.
Although it's a bit promotional, this video by The Space Adventurer presents a good overview of MZ's trip in space and what it is like for a citizen to visit the ISS.
Read about Citizens in Space at Astras.
About Elon Musk
Born on June 28, 1971, Elon Musk is an engineer, industrial designer, and space enthusiast. He is the founder of SpaceX and The Boring Company. Musk moved to California in 1995. He and his brother Kimbal had successes in internet startups. Long dreaming of living on Mars, in 2002 Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company. SpaceX developed the Falcon rocket and today it is the poster child of reusable launch vehicles. In 2016, Musk revealed his plans for a giant spacecraft now named, "Starship" that is intended to take humans to Mars and beyond. This machine is under development at SpaceX's facility at Boca Chica, TX.
The concept for dearMoon has been under consideration for the past few years. The invitation has been given for wannabe space cadets to apply for a seat on the mission.
Round trip visit to the Moon on Starship? Count me in!