SpaceX revealed that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa had selected an unorthodox crew of artists, athletes, and entertainers for an upcoming privately funded lunar mission called "dearMoon." Starship, SpaceX's most powerful next-generation launch vehicle, will propel the crew around the moon, orbit for several days, and return to Earth.
The lunar mission has been in the works since 2018. Maezawa bought every seat and will now be joined by DJ Steve Aoki, K-pop star Choi Seung-hyun (known as TOP), choreographer Yemi AD, photographer Rhiannon Adam, YouTube creator Tim Dodd, photographer Karim Iliya, documentary filmmaker Brendan Hall, actor Dev Joshi, and snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington.
The lunar mission is expected to launch sometime in 2023, though Starship has yet to conduct its first orbital test flight. If early Starship tests are successful, then dearMoon could beat NASA's Artemis II mission to fly astronauts around the moon by 2024.
Maezawa has already been to space. In 2021, he flew to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket and spent two weeks living in zero gravity.
The six-day mission will spend three days orbiting the moon before returning to Earth.