The #dearMoon project is a lunar tourism mission and art project conceived and financed by Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. Its key component is a private spaceflight involving Maezawa, several artists and one or two crew members on board SpaceX's Starship spacecraft flying on a circumlunar trajectory around the Moon. The project was unveiled in September 2018 and the flight is expected to occur no earlier than 2023.
Artistic rendition of the Starship firing all 7 of its engines while passing by the Moon
|Mission type||Crewed lunar flyby|
|Mission duration||6 days|
|Members||Yusaku Maezawa, Damien Chazelle (not accepted yet)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||2023 (proposed)|
#dearMoon project insignia
The project objective is to have six to eight accomplished artists travel with him for free around the Moon on a six-day tour. Maezawa expects the experience of space tourism will inspire the accompanying artists in the creation of new art. The art would be exhibited some time after returning to Earth to help promote peace across the world.
Maezawa had previously contracted in 2017 with SpaceX for a lunar flyby in a much smaller Dragon 2 spacecraft launched by a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle which would have carried only two passengers. But according to a SpaceX announcement in early 2018, the Falcon Heavy plan was shelved in light of the development of BFR/Starship.
The BFR booster and Starship are currently being developed. The crewed flight will not take place until after the Starship systems are tested on Earth and in outer space.
On February 27, 2017, SpaceX announced that they were planning to fly two space tourists on a free-return trajectory around the Moon, now known to be billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and one friend. This mission, which would have launched in late 2018, was planned to use the Crew Dragon 2 capsule already developed under contract for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, and launched via a Falcon Heavy rocket. As well as being a source of income for the company, any mission would serve as technology development for SpaceX's further plans to colonize Mars.
At the time of the 2017 announcement, the Crew Dragon 2 capsule was still under development and the Falcon Heavy had yet to fly. Industry analysts noted that the schedule proposed by SpaceX might be too ambitious, as the capsule was expected to need modifications to handle differences in flight profile between the proposed lunar flight and its main use for crew transfer to space stations orbiting Earth.
In February 2018, SpaceX announced it no longer had plans to certify the Falcon Heavy for human spaceflight and that lunar missions would be carried out with the BFR system. Then, on September 14, 2018, SpaceX announced that the previously contracted passenger would be launched aboard the BFR to flyby the Moon in 2023. The BFR spaceship will have a pressurized volume of 1,000 m3 (35,000 cu ft), large common areas, central storage, a galley, and a solar storm shelter.
On February 6 2019, the #dearMoon YouTube channel posted a video in which Maezawa discusses the movie First Man with director Damien Chazelle and lead actor Ryan Gosling, and in the video, Maezawa officially invites Chazelle to come with him on his #dearMoon project, making Chazelle the first person to publicly be invited to go. However, Chazelle answered that he had to think about it and discuss it with his wife.
The #dearMoon project passengers will be Yusaku Maezawa and six to eight accomplished artists that Maezawa will invite to travel with him for free. One or two astronauts and an undetermined number of SpaceX pilots might also fly on board. Maezawa expects this flight will inspire the artists in their creation of new art, which will be presented some time after their return to Earth. Maezawa hopes this project will help promote peace across the world.
Artists invited (not accepted yet) by Maezawa to date:
Proposed to launch in 2023, the circumlunar mission is expected to take 6 days to complete. In 1970 Apollo 13 followed a similar trajectory around the Moon, without entering orbit or landing. During the 2020s NASA's Artemis 1 and Artemis 2 are proposed to launch on similar trajectories; the second one is planned to be crewed and to be launched in 2022.
- First Private Passenger on Lunar BFR Mission. Press conference streamed live at YouTube by SpaceX. 17 September 2018.
- SpaceX signs its first passenger to fly aboard the Big Falcon Rocket Moon mission. CatchNews. 14 September 2018.
- #dearMoon (2019-02-06), Movie "FIRST MAN" Special talk -Yusaku Maezawa × Damien Chazelle × Ryan Gosling-, retrieved 2019-03-06
- Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.
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- "Making Life Multiplanetary: Abridged transcript of Elon Musk's presentation to the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia" (PDF). SpaceX. September 2017.
- "Movie "FIRST MAN" Special talk -Yusaku Maezawa × Damien Chazelle × Ryan Gosling-". 6 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Maezawa on Twitter: After a press conference, we talked a lot at Elon's home. He said that it would be reliable if 1-2 astronauts will be on board.