The Japanese fashion mogul Yuzaku Maezawa finally announced the crew of the dearMoon mission, which he promotes as a candidate for the first civilian mission to go to the Moon and back.
As expected, most of the crew work in the arts. They include:
- DJ & producer Steve Aoki
- Youtube creator Tim Dodd
- Artist Yemi A.D.
- Photographer Karim Iliya
- Photographer Rhiannon Adam
- Filmmaker Brendan Hall
- Actor Dev Joshi
- Musician T.O.P. (Choi Seung Hyun)
Backup crew member include Kaitlyn Farrington and Miyu. The crew and backup crew include individuals from around the world, including the United States, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, and the Czech Republic.
According to its official website, dearMoon could launch on Starship as early as 2023. This naturally depends on how soon Starship can become operational. It has faced delays in planned testing, primarily due to the slowness of FAA approval.
This has caused frustration for SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, and likely customers like Yuzaku Maezawa who are interested in flying on Spaceship. Former aerospace professional Dennis Tito has also expressed interest in flying around the Moon on Starship — many years after becoming the first private citizen to pay Russia for a flight to the International Space Station.
NASA crews may also fly on a Starship-derived lunar lander that SpaceX is working on for the Artemis Program.
Maezawa has been planning the dearMoon flight since 2018. He famously caused a bit of controversy after floating the idea of a The Bachelor–like competition to have a romantic partner fly on dearMoon as well. The competition would have aired on TV as a show titled Full Moon Lovers. He nixed that idea after some serious backlash.
Despite having to drop that idea, he says he got applicants for the dearMoon mission from more than 249 countries.
“It is unfortunate that I cannot take all of you with me,” he said in a statement on dearMoon’s website.
The dearMoon may expect to begin training for the flight soon. Their training is likely to include emergency protocols, operation of Starship systems, and familiarization with a sleek-looking future spacesuit model developed by SpaceX.