Books and television shows of the 1960s offered an optimistic prediction of a 21st century filled with sentient robots, flying cars and most notably, exotic space travel for everyone. Although the first two are still objects of the future, tech mogul Elon Musk has recently announced that his company SpaceX has booked the first passenger for a consumer-grade spaceflight to the moon, making the last concept a possible reality. The proposed mission will carry Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a one week trip to the moon for $175 million per seat. The trip will take place on the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a massive new $5 billion spacecraft capable of carrying 100 passengers. Construction of the rocket is underway, with test flights commencing in 2019 and the first commercial trip tentatively scheduled for 2023, a very ambitious deadline.“Although Elon Musk is not the most cookie-cutter conventional business man, his initiatives with SpaceX are an exciting prospect for the future. Musk’s economic strategy of producing his own rocket parts has allowed him to lead a private industry based on space travel, allowing for more innovation and progress to occur than just leaving it to the feds and NASA,” Junior Adrian Rafizadeh said.As exciting as it may sound, SpaceX has yet to release a detailed proposal and definite timeline for the mission. The company’s CEO, Musk, is notorious for his flamboyant and unpredictable personality. Before the rocket launch announcement, M u s k ’ s i n c re a s i n g ly unprofessional t w e e t s s u b j e c t e d him to an i nve s t i g a t i o n from the U.S. Securities and E x c h a n g e s C o m m i s s i o n (SEC). The r e s u l t i n g lawsuits forced Musk to step down as electric car company Tesla’s chairman for three years. This behavior has left the public wondering if he is able to fulfill the promise of sending man to the moon 49 years after Neil Armstrong’s historic moonwalk. However, for many, this event marks a pivotal shift in perspective: space is no longer restricted to only scientific minds; it is now able to be enjoyed by the wealthiest civilians. SpaceX was founded in 2002 with the goal of enabling multi-planetary life and making space technology more accessible, reliable, and affordable. This mission also opens up a new door for the arts. Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa plans to take six to eight artists on the mission with him, ranging from sculptors and painters to architects and film directors. He hopes to use this experience to further creativity and innovation among artists. “I want to share this experience with as many people as possible. So, I choose to go to the moon with artists,” Maezawa said.Still, there are also many who believe that SpaceX’s plans are too unreliable and a waste of money. In an interview, celebrity physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson expressed his doubts about the company’s visions. “The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. It’s not going to happen..”In spite of all of Musk’s missteps and uncertainty over the trip, his cutting-edge vision for SpaceX may open up a variety of new opportunities for the future of space exploration. and SpaceX may go where no civilian has gone before.
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