SpaceX is developing Starship to return humanity to the lunar surface and send the first humans to Mars. The rocket-ship is actively under development at the Starbase facility in South Texas. Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa purchased a SpaceX Starship spaceflight to fly around the Moon. He called the mission ‘dearMoon’; in March 2021 he invited the public to participate in a contest to win a seat to join him on the once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It will be the first all-civilian mission to ever fly around our closest celestial neighbor, 238,900 miles away from Earth. The DearMoon contestants filled out an application and answered a set of questions about how they would inspire humanity if selected. dearMoon only selected 10 people out of 1 million who applied from 249 countries and regions around the world. In September 2021, the selection process was narrowed down to a few hundred inspiring individuals who were asked to submit a video about why they deserve a seat aboard Starship’s debut circumlunar voyage.
On Thursday, December 8, dearMoon project representatives finally revealed the civilian crew that will travel on SpaceX Starship around the Moon. “The entire SpaceX team is excited for these extraordinary people to join the dearMoon mission! As they share their experiences flying around the Moon, this crew will inspire everyone back home
on planet Earth,” said Jessica Jensen, SpaceX Vice President of Customer Operations &
Integration. “In advance of their flight, the SpaceX team continues to make great progress in the development of Starship, a fully and rapidly reusable interplanetary transportation system. We look forward to flying this crew of artists, content creators, and athletes from all around the world who will travel within 200 km of the lunar surface as they complete a full journey around the Moon before safely returning to Earth.” They selected a crew of 8 that will launch on a seven day voyage, and an additional 2 backup crew members who will have the opportunity to fly to space if one of the chosen members cannot go. The selected crew represents diverse backgrounds and cultures who were selected due to their remarkable success and popularity in their field of work, which enables them to inspire millions of people. The crewmembers who will launch alongside Yusaku Maezawa are:
DJ Steve Aoki (45 years old) who is globally known as music producer, who has played over 250 shows at every top festival around the world, including Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and Coachella. He is also an entrepreneur, fashion designer, NFT futurist and philanthropist. “Since I was a little child I was dreaming of going to the moon. It's becoming more and more real every day. Still hard to believe but very excited and grateful for this amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To the moon!” said Aoki.
Everyday Astronaut Tim Dodd
American rocket science communicator Tim Dodd (37 years old), who has a YouTube channel named 'Everyday Astronaut' with over 1 Million subscribers, was also selected to fly around the Moon. He is known for "bringing space down to Earth for everyday people." He specializes in explaining technical rocket science in simple terms to make it more understandable for the average person through his videos. He is a professional photographer/videographer and has conducted many interviews with leading personalities in the aerospace industry, including astronauts and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. “Never in a million years did I think I would get the chance to fly around the moon, but I can’t wait to bring everyone with me,” said Dodd.
TOP Choi Seung Hyun
South Korean K-Pop artist Choi Seung Hyun (35 years old), nicknamed TOP, was also selected to fly on Starship. He is known for his rap music and for being part of the K-pop group BIGBANG. Hyun also works as an actor, he starred in multiple Korean films, including: ‘Into the Fire’ and ‘Tazza: The Hidden Card’, as well as K-dramas including ‘I Am Sam’ and ‘Iris’. “As a Korean artist, I want dearMoon to inspire the world, give people hope, and make anyone with a dream feel that anything is possible,” he stated.
Multi-disciplinary creative from the Czech Republic Yemi A.D. (41 years old), who manages a European dance production company, will use his varied skills to inspire the world through his dearMoon voyage experience. He is "a social innovator and choreographer who teaches people & organizations how to move into their creativity. He designed, choreographed and directed shows and campaigns for Apple, Google, Mercedes Benz, the VMA’s, SNL and CBS. In 2010, he founded JAD Productions, one of the leading creative production companies in Europe which has garnered multiple honors and global awards," according to a press release. “I’m doing this to remind all the creative kids out there: It doesn’t matter how you start your journey, but where you aim. We will prove that with imagination, there is no limit to your potential!” said Yemi A.D.
United Kingdom photographer Karim Iliya (32 years old) is also part of the dearMoon crew. "Karim uses photography and video to show a unique perspective and uncover new underwater worlds that few have the opportunity to see. His focus is on documenting whales, birds, and other threatened species in an effort to advocate for the protection of delicate ecosystems on Earth for generations to come," said dearMoon. He has worked in over 45 countries and his photos have been featured in National Geographic Magazine, and has won multiple awards. "“As I document this incredible journey and share this story, I hope to grow and understand how to do my part to make things better for all life on Earth,” said Karim.
Rhiannon Adam, a 37-year old photographer artist from Ireland who has been supported by the BBC/Royal Geographical Society and won multiple awards, will travel to the moon and says she cannot believe she will go. –"Every day I pinch myself; it seems like an impossible dream coming true. I aim to create work that does justice to this transformative experience."
Brendan Hall, is a 28-year-old filmmaker who has worked on documentaries featured on television and on Netflix. He has worked on BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY and RED HEAVEN shows. His recent work is a documentary named "Blood Sugar Rising" about diabetes in the United States. "In his work, Brendan is committed to sharing the wonders of our planet in hopes that we may be inspired to care for it. It’s a spirit he brings to his upcoming first feature-length documentary, a tapestry of personal stories captured across 10,000 miles of the U.S. national parks," said dearMoon representatives in a press release. “It’s an incredible honor to be a part of this team and help share an inside perspective of our mission," said Hall.
Dev Joshi, is a 22-year-old Indian television actor known for portraying the role of Baal Veer in 'Sony Sab's Baal Veer' and super hero series 'Baalveer Returns.' He is also a philanthropist who founded the 'D3 Caring Social Club' non-profit organization to help underprivileged communities in India. “Always Be positive and Be passionate, because Miracles happen, and they happen anytime, which came in the form of dearMoon for me!” he said.
Backup dearMoon Crewmembers
The two backup members are: Professional dancer Miyu from Japan and United States Olympic snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington. “So excited to grasp this enormous dream of mine. On behalf of the young generation, I will do my best to inspire people through my dance," said Miyu. “I can’t believe I’m a part of this amazing opportunity! Never in a million years did I think I would have the chance to fly around the moon!” said Farrington. Watch their videos below.
Featured Image Source: SpaceX DearMoon
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.