How much would you pay to fly around the moon? Two wealthy space fans are about to learn the answer to that question. Whoever they are, they’ll become the first commercial passengers to buy tickets for a planned space flight to orbit the moon and return safely to earth — two round trip tickets for the adventure of a lifetime! This dream-come-true for lunar enthusiasts is being made possible by Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX.
Tentatively slated for the end of 2018, this will be humanity’s first trip back to the moon since the end of the Apollo Program in the early 1970’s. It’s been more than fifty years since the last time we visited our planet’s only satellite. The return trip, if you ask me, is long overdue!
To make this voyage into deep space possible, SpaceX plans to use its Dragon 2 space craft, flown atop their Falcon Heavy rocket. Both state-of-the-art machines are still being extensively tested with the hope of offering regular, routine, lunar tourist expeditions in the future.
Here’s the jaw-dropping part: The Falcon is designed to function autonomously; no astronaut pilots onboard! This means the two civilian passengers will be alone for the duration of their 400,000-mile-long trip! SpaceX hopes that profits from these civilian moon voyages will help finance their ultimate goal: sending colonists to Mars!