The Sky is Not the Limit

Admiring the brilliance of the moon is just as striking as watching the sunlight stretch across the morning sky. For humans, their vast distance from the moon conjures sentiments of mystery and allure, and even the most high-definition images cannot imitate the ethereal experience of seeing the moon up-close in person. SpaceX, however, seems to understand this perspective.

Most recently, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been working on two vehicles for commercial spaceflight, both of which are still incomplete. DOGOnews describes that the entire spacecraft is 387 feet tall and is capable of delivering 5,400 tons of thrust. With these impressive statistics, Musk hopes to use SpaceX technology to bring more people to the moon, an ambition he possessed since the very founding of SpaceX in 2002; his ultimate goal is to colonize Mars with new technology, which appears quite extravagant considering Mars’ lack of carbon dioxide.

Nevertheless, Elon Musk is one step closer to satisfying his impressive ambitions. The founder of Zozo, Yusaku Maezawa, strives to venture to the moon in 2023 through SpaceX, in a project he has called “Dear Moon.” The Wall Street Journal and NBC News note that he is inviting artists to travel to the moon with him as Maezawa hopes they can create work advancing the universal mission towards world peace.

The idea that humans may be able to travel beyond our planet and to the moon is truly surreal. “Dear Moon” is a testament to how our world is growing, challenging the limited expanse of Earth; the project also alludes to the ways in which individuals have capitalized on current resources to create new possibilities, specifically the privatization of space travel. Engaging in projects such as “Dear Moon” allows individuals to become better informed about how we imagine our future to be.

An article in Forbes Magazine suggests that private sector leaders, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, are exploring space to identify resource-rich areas from which the private sector can benefit. Moreover, the article recognizes that our world has much to learn about the universe, and the pursuit of space travel is a manner in which researchers can collect knowledge to benefit their current projects or develop future ones.

The privatization of space travel will allow different corporations and individuals to tailor their trips to satisfy their own goals. However, I wonder whether the gain of space travel is worth its risks; with its advent come unpredictable accidents and unsatisfied consumers. It seems, too, that it would be difficult to privatize public sector space organizations, such as the International Space Station (ISS), which has been pushed to be used for private research. An article in Vox argues that ISS as it exists now does not have much demand, if at all, for research about space. If successful, space travel would likely be led by existing companies in the private sector, such as SpaceX or Blue Origin.

These negative aspects of space research and travel do not seem to deter Maezawa. While his name may be recognized in the U.S. for his $110.5 million purchase of a painting, he may alter his reputation with a far more expensive investment with “Project Moon,” creating monumental change in the space industry and the world.