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Lunar Mission: Japanese Billionaire, 1st Private Passenger To Head For The Moon

Lunar Mission: Japanese Billionaire, 1st Private Passenger To Head For The Moon
Yusaku Maezawa with Elon Musk before the announcement. (Source – Twitter handle of Elon Musk)

News Desk

Lunar Mission: Japanese Billionaire, 1st Private Passenger To Head For The Moon

He will be accompanied by a group of artists on the week-long trip.

Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire entrepreneur who founded the fashion label Zozo, will be the first private passenger to visit the moon as part of the SpaceX lunar mission.

The name was announced by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the company headquarters outside of Los Angeles on Monday.

The 42-year-old Maezawa with a net worth of USD 2.9 billion is fond of collecting arts. He said that he will take six to eight artists to fly with him on a week-long trip in 2023.

This will include sculptors, painters, architects and film directors. According to him, when these artists will create art pieces after returning, that will “inspire the dreamer in all of us.”

While the billionaire will pay for his trip, the artists accompanying him would do so free of cost, Musk clarified.

Simultaneously with the announcement, a new website called “Dear Moon” has been launched for the lunar mission 2023. The website states that artists representing Earth will head for the Moon, the first group of non-astronauts touring the space.

They will travel in the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a huge launch vehicle designed to help people tour into deep space.

Musk had introduced the BFR, composed of a rocket and spaceship, in December 2017 with an aim to explore Mars. He also said that the company hopes to launch two cargo ships to the Red Planet in 2022.

In February 2018, SpaceX unveiled Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational launch vehicle carrying Elon Musk’s red 2008 Tesla Roadster. It lifted off from the same launch pad that had sent the crew of Apollo 11 to the moon in July 1969.

SpaceX will probably build 30 to 40 rocket cores for 300 missions over five years. Then the BFR takes over and Falcon retires. Goal of BFR is to enable anyone to move to Moon, Mars and eventually outer planets.

– Elon Musk

“One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind.”

American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 are the first men to step on the Moon in 1969. Since then, only 24 humans have toured to the Moon, the last  being the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, when Eugene Cernan landed on the lunar surface.

With NASA working to construct a lunar gateway which would serve as a point to launch missions leading into deeper space like asteroids or Mars, US President Donald Trump has charted out plans for another visit to the Moon and, eventually to Mars.

ISRO’s Lunar Mission

India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched in October 2008. It released the Moon Impact Probe, which hit the Moon’s south pole, making India the fourth country to leave a mark on the Moon after US, USSR and China. Chandrayaan-1 created history by confirming the presence of water ice on the Moon.

India’s second mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 2, is scheduled for a launch in January next year. This includes an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.

After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. The Lander will then land on the moon’s surface and deploy a six-wheeled Rover which will gather information about the moon.

India’s Space Tour

Sqn Ldr Rakesh Sharma had become the first Indian in space aboard the Soyuz T-11 in April 1984 as part of a joint Indo-USSR programme. It was on 3 April 1984 that Sqn Ldr Sharma created history by going on board a Soviet space station, conducting several experiments during a stay that lasted over seven days.

Kalpana Chawla (Indian-born) and Sunita Williams (Indian-origin) are among the women who have gone into space.

(ReadNASA Honours Kalpana Chawla, Six Others Killed Aboard Space Shuttle Columbia)

On the Independence Day this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s manned space mission, the Gaganyaan, by 2022 to mark the 75th year of the country’s Independence. ISRO will launch a human spaceflight mission on its own.

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